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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Gov. DeSantis Touts Safety Of Air Travel, Urges Tourists To Return To Florida

Empty Tampa International Airport
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA
Tampa International Airport was virtually empty in April during the coronavirus pandemic.

He made the comments as airlines are struggling to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the case that it was safe for tourists to fly on airplanes to come to Florida.

DeSantis spoke Friday at a forum on airline travel with industry executives at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, just as the number of newly reported coronavirus cases grew by more than 3,800 people.

That's down from peaks averaging nearly 12,000 cases daily in mid-July.

Florida airports recorded an estimated 8.8 million passengers from March through June, down from around 24 million a year earlier, amid widespread public worries about contracting the virus while flying and national and international travel restrictions.

DeSantis says he hasn’t heard of any cases where an airline passenger had caught the virus from being on an airplane.

"If you came to me in March, I would have said ‘man I don’t know about flying because it’s in close contact, maybe someone starts to cough on you or whatever.’ The fact of the matter is you have just not seen airlines lead to outbreaks, and people should understand that."

Airport executives spoke of the impact coronavirus is having on their business.

“JetBlue is very proud of that in our 20-year history we've never furloughed any crew members, and so we're pulling every lever that we can to not get there, to make sure that we continue that,” said Andres Barry, president of JetBlue Travel Products. “But it's hard. The current revenue situation is untenable. And it's a lot of important jobs.”

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.