State coronavirus travel restrictions ‘not helpful’

Airbus SE A321 aircraft with a livery for Delta Air Lines Inc., left and Spirit Airlines Inc. are seen at the Airbus final assembly line facility in Mobile, Alabama.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | fake pictures

A mosaic of government travel restrictions “is not useful” to revitalize the demand for air travel devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, the chief executive of the airplane manufacturer Airbus said on Thursday.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are now asking travelers arriving from a number of states, including Florida and Texas, to have published an increasing number of quarantined Covid-19 cases over 14 days. Some of the states took similar steps earlier this year for travelers coming from New York as cases increased in the state.

“This is not helpful. When there are restrictions by state, it creates obstacles,” Airbus Americas CEO Jeff Knittel said in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box. “The fact is, we can only control so much. Our job is to create the safest possible environment for passengers to be ready to fly … and to provide them with the comfort they expect from us and will receive from us.”

Knittel praised the airlines for raising money recently and called it a smart option to bolster its balance sheets amid low interest rates to counter the pandemic’s impact on revenue. American, Delta and United are among the operators that have recently sold debt or equity.

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and rival Boeing are fighting to ensure passengers feel safe flying during the pandemic, either by increasing cleaning procedures or by explaining cabin air circulation.

Major U.S. companies now require passengers to wear face masks or other covers on board in an effort to protect Covid-19 crews and customers. There are no federal rules that require a mask on board and Knittel said it is not necessary as long as there are consequences.

“If someone were to take an action, like taking off the mask, the stewardesses will address it and I think that will be under control,” he said. “I don’t think much that we need federal regulations to implement the obvious.”

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a staff note Thursday that passengers who do not comply will be banned.

“We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously. Customers who choose not to comply with this or any other safety requirement are at risk of losing their future flight privileges with Delta,” he said. “So far, fortunately there have only been a handful of cases.” But we have already banned some passengers from traveling in Delta in the future for refusing to wear masks on board. “

American said last week that it would ban a passenger from refusing to wear a mask until such coverages are no longer needed on board.