Airline CEOs Meet With Donald Trump At The White House

United States President Donald Trump met with CEOs from major US airlines at the White House on March 4th. The meeting was to discuss the airline industry’s response to coronavirus and the impact the outbreak has had on the industry as a whole.

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Airline CEOs were in Washington today to discuss the coronavirus outbreak with President Trump. Photo: Getty Images

President Trump meets with airline CEOs

The White House released a transcript of remarks given by President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at a coronavirus briefing with airline CEOs.

Vice President Pence, who is one of the key heads in the Trump Administration working on the coronavirus outbreak, indicated that the airlines were working with government officials and screening passengers multiple times before boarding flights from Italy or South Korea.

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Airlines are screening passengers multiple times before departing on flights from Italy and South Korea. Photo: Getty Images

Major CEO airlines were in attendance and they discussed measures their airlines are taking.

American Airlines: Doug Parker

Doug Parker highlighted the United States’ federal containment efforts and claimed the airline has taken a part in that. American has suspended flights to China, South Korea, and Milan in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

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American Airlines has suspended flights to South Korea, China, and Italy. Photo: Simple Flying

Southwest Airlines: Gary Kelly

Gary Kelly of Southwest Airlines highlighted the airline’s cleaning efforts to ensure that aircraft are disinfected. Working closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Mr. Kelly stated that Southwest Airlines has proper protocols in place– especially when dealing with a suspected illness.

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Southwest is working with the CDC. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska Airlines: Brad Tilden

Brad Tilden highlighted efforts that Alaska Airlines is taking to keep passengers safe from the coronavirus outbreak. When asked by President Trump about the cleaning solutions. Mr. Tilden stated that these solutions are effective and the aircraft cleaning process has been intensified.

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is stepping up its cleaning protocol. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines: Peter Ingram

Hawaiian Airlines does connect Hawaii to Asia. However, the airline has suspended some services to East Asia. In the meantime, Hawaiian Airlines is working with the government to ensure the safety of its customers and crew. Mr. Ingram also highlighted the need to share facts and information with its customers and crew.

Airline CEOs Meet With Donald Trump At The White House
Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO Peter Ingram was in attendance. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Republic Airways: Matt Koscal

Republic Airways is one of America’s largest regional carriers operating under the American Eagle, United Express, and Delta Connection. CEO Matt Koscal highlighted the need for ensuring that frontline employees have the tools and resources they need to combat this outbreak. Part of that included sharing information.

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Republic Airways flies under a number of regional carrier banners. Photo: American Airlines

JetBlue: Robin Hayes

JetBlue’s CEO did not offer many specifics as to what the airline was doing with this outbreak. However, he did note that the airline was working to keep its employees, crew, and customers safe using some of the similar methods as other airlines. Notably, JetBlue was also the first US airline to waive change fees for flights in the United States due to the outbreak.

JetBlue was the first US airline to waive change fees for flights amid the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: JetBlue

United Airlines: Oscar Munoz

Oscar Munoz took a personal spin on the coronavirus outbreak. Highlighting his heart transplant and age, he noted that he would be someone affected negatively by the coronavirus. Interestingly, Mr. Munoz mentioned something called the “corona bump” at United in which employees bump into each other. According to Mr. Munoz, it is “a fun way of expressing what I think we all need to know– is be careful for the next few weeks as we control this; that we adapt our behavior so that indeed we can continue to stay safe”

Whether or not the “corona bump” actually reinforces that is a different story…

United has invented a “corona bump”. Photo: United Airlines.

Who was missing?

Apt readers will recognize that there is a notable personality missing: Ed Bastian. The head over at Delta Air Lines, Mr. Bastian was not in attendance. It is unclear why, however, Delta is taking some precautions to ensure that its aircraft are clean and it is adjusting its flight schedules as necessary.

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Delta’s CEO was not in attendance. Photo: Delta Air Lines


The goal of this meeting was to display that the airline industry is prepared to handle this outbreak. While it is true that airlines are taking steps to limit the spread of this virus, it is unclear exactly how foolproof this system is. Especially as the number of cases in the United States continues to rise, it will be interesting to see how domestic aviation changes.

What do you make of President Trump’s meeting with airline CEOs? Let us know in the comments!