Trump administration clashes with airline officials over coronavirus

In a series of contentious conversations, agency officials and aviation executives have clashed over the administration’s demand that airlines collect new kinds of data from passengers to help officials track potential virus carriers.

Airlines say they can’t meet that demand right away — a claim some administration officials say they don’t believe, according to several sources who tell CNN the calls have deteriorated so badly that agency officials have issued threats, spat expletives and accused airline executives of lying. It is an “epic battle,” said one source familiar with the talks.

On one call, an administration official pointed to potential fines if the airlines didn’t comply, according to two sources. The Federal Register, where proposed rules are published, laid out the new requirements for added data collection and listed penalties that include fines as high as $500,000 as well as jail time of up to a year.