The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed new guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) removing its recommendation that masks should be required in-flight.
On Wednesday 11 May, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued an update to the health safety measures for air travel, paving the way for a relaxation of the need to wear medical masks on board a flight.
As of next week, face masks will no longer be required for air travel.Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director
This important shift reflects the high levels of vaccination, natural immunity levels, and the removal of domestic restrictions in many European nations. The updated guidance also acknowledges the need to move from an emergency situation to a more sustainable mode of managing Covid-19.
We welcome EASA’s recommendation to relax the mask mandate, which is another important step along the road back to normality for air passengers. Travelers can look forward to freedom of choice on whether to wear a mask.Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Several jurisdictions still maintain mask requirements. That is a challenge for airlines and passengers flying between destinations with different requirements. “We believe that mask requirements on board aircraft should end when masks are no longer mandated in other parts of daily life, for example theatres, offices or on public transport. Although the European protocol comes into effect next week, there is no globally consistent approach to mask-wearing on board aircraft. Airlines must comply with the regulations applicable to the routes they are operating. The aircraft crew will know what rules apply and it is critical that passengers follow their instructions. And we ask that all travelers be respectful of other people’s decision to voluntarily wear masks even if it not a requirement,” said Walsh.