EU to drop Covid face mask rule for airports and flights in Europe


In a joint statement, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the measure would help ease the burden on the travel industry .

The rule will be scrapped from May 16, although officials have said some airlines may continue to require their use.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory on air travel in any case, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport. “said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky.

“For passengers and crew, this is a big step forward in the standardization of air travel.

“Passengers should, however, behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them.”

New guidance to airports from that date will also recommend airport operators to avoid imposing distance requirements “if these most likely lead to a bottleneck”.

However, the revised protocol states that measures relating to face masks must be aligned with national measures regarding the wearing of face masks on public transport – meaning that they may still be necessary in some cases beyond May 16. , depending on the country of departure or destination.

Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC, said the vaccines had allowed “our lives to start getting back to normal”.

“Although mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to keep in mind that along with physical distancing and good hand hygiene, it is one of the best methods to reduce the transmission.

“The rules and requirements of the states of departure and destination must be respected and applied consistently, and tour operators must ensure that they inform passengers of all required measures in a timely manner.”

Airlines should continue to promote the use of face masks as an option for passengers, the guidance says, but that passengers should “respect the decision of others to wear or not wear a mask”.

He adds: “In their communication, operators should stress that people at high risk of severe Covid-19 are advised to wear an FFP2 respirator mask during the flight for their own protection.”

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