The EU is removing the mask mandate for air travel under the
International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) support as the Covid-19
crisis continues to ease.
“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in
air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements
of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” said
Patrick Ky, executive director of European Union Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA). “For passengers and aircrews, this is a big step forward in the
normalisation of air travel.”
Travellers are encouraged to respect the choices of others, and mask
up if they’re coughing and sneezing. This relaxation of measures takes
into consideration the higher vaccination rates, levels of naturally
acquired immunity and easing pandemic rules in numerous European
However, EASA notes that the optional mask policy may be challenging
for airlines and passengers flying between destinations with varied
safety protocols and calls for airlines to “comply with the regulations
applicable to the routes they are operating”.
While the mask mandate will also be dispensed with in European
airports, travellers passing through the airports are still encouraged
to observe safe distancing measures. Airport operators though have been
told to adopt a pragmatic approach to this and avoid imposing distancing
requirements if this will lead to delays.