Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly tested positive for Covid-19 after a Senate hearing with other airline chiefs earlier this week, the airline said Friday.
Kelly, along with the CEOs of United Airlines and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines’ chief of operations, and the president of the country’s largest flight attendant union, testified in person for more than three hours at the Senate Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday afternoon about $54 billion in federal payroll support airlines took to weather the pandemic. Witnesses and lawmakers didn’t wear masks during the hearing. Most of the other attendees wore face masks.
“Although testing negative multiple times prior to the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Gary tested positive for COVID-19 after returning home, experiencing mild symptoms, and taking a PCR test,” a Southwest spokeswoman said in a statement. “Gary is doing well and currently resting at home, he has been fully vaccinated and received the booster earlier this year. Gary’s symptoms continue to be mild, and each day he is moving closer to a full recovery.”
United’s CEO Scott Kirby, who sat to Kelly’s left in the hearing, tested negative for Covid as of Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter. American’s CEO Doug Parker tested negative on Friday, a spokeswoman said.
Delta’s chief of operations, John Laughter, who testified in the hearing on Wednesday and sat two seats away from Kelly, tested negative Thursday and Friday.