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Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly Tests Positive For Covid-19 After Testifying Before Congress

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Southwest Airlines said CEO Gary Kelly has tested positive for COVID-19.

The airline's confirmation comes two days after Kelly testified before the US Senate Commerce Committee along with executives from other airlines.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly
(Credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Southwest said before the hearing Wednesday, Kelly had tested negative for the virus multiple times.

In a statement Friday afternoon, an airline spokesperson said, "Gary tested positive after returning home, experiencing mild symptoms, and taking a PCR test. Gary is doing well and currently resting at home, he has been fully vaccinated and received the booster earlier this year."

During the hearing, Kelly sat next to American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, along with United's CEO and COO from Delta Airlines.

A spokesperson for American said Parker is "symptom-free, fully vaccinated, and getting tested this afternoon."

No update yet on the result.

Delta said Friday it's COO tested negative for the virus both Thursday and Friday.

We're waiting to hear back from United.

Southwest said that Kelly's symptoms continue to be mild and that each day he is moving closer to a full recovery.

As for Kelly, he made headlines Wednesday when asked by Senators about whether masks provide additional protection aboard the aircraft.

The airlines use high-grade air filters on planes to capture nearly all airborne contamination.

Kelly said, "Yeah I think the case is very strong that masks don't add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment.  It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting."

Parker said, "I concur. An aircraft is the safest place you can be. It's true of all of our aircraft, they all have the same HEPA filters and air flow."

After the hearing, a spokesperson for American said Parker agreed the filters provide high quality air on planes and that he didn't intend to raise doubts about the need for passengers and crew to wear them.

The mask mandate will continue in planes and airports through March 18th.


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