Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly tested positive for Covid-19 after a Senate hearing with other airline chiefs earlier this week, the airline said on Friday.
“Although testing negative multiple times before 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.”
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.
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.
“He will continue to test and take other precautions as necessary,” the airline said in a statement.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, sat to Laughter’s left.
“I was advised by Gary Kelly shortly after he tested positive and, ironically, just as I was returning to work after getting the booster shot,” she said in a statement. “I am following CDC protocols and will test several times within the 5-7 day recommended period, and before traveling with my family for the holidays.”