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More airlines to start collecting contact tracing information from passengers

More airlines to start collecting contact tracing information from passengers
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More airlines said Friday they will start asking for passengers’ personal information on flights to the U.S. to beef up their contact tracing capabilities.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group that represents leading U.S. airlines, said Friday that Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines would collect the information and transmit it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The information obtained will include each passenger's legal name, two phone numbers, an email address and the address where the passenger will be staying in the U.S. 

Delta Airlines and United Airlines have already been collecting that information since December.

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“The implementation of a contact tracing program for international passengers is yet another measure in our multi-layered approach to mitigate risk and assure the traveling public that both U.S. airlines and the federal government are prioritizing the health and safety of passengers and crew,” said Airlines for America President Nicholas Calio. 

U.S. airlines had long resisted government requests for them to collect information on their flyers, claiming that doing so would put large impositions on companies that would have to upgrade computer systems and train employees to collect the information. 

However, Calio said the airlines would provide the information in part to try to press lawmakers to lift travel restrictions that have been put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are hopeful that this measure, coupled with existing testing requirements for passengers flying to the U.S., will lead policymakers to lift travel restrictions so that international travel can resume and the social and economic benefits of that travel can be realized,” Calio said.