The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced on Wednesday May 11 the lifting from Monday May 16 of the obligation to wear a mask in airports and on board planes in the EU, decreed following of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory for air travel”, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said in a statement. This decision “is a big step forward in the standardization of air transport”he added.
The world’s leading airline association, Iata, has welcomed EASA’s new protocol, which amounts to giving travelers “the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a mask”according to Willie Walsh, its managing director.
The mask will no longer be compulsory in public transport from Monday May 16
These latter “can travel with confidence knowing that many features of the aircraft cabin, such as high-frequency air exchange and high-efficiency filters, make it one of the safest interior environments”he said.
At the same time, EASA points out that a face mask remains one of the best protections against COVID-19 transmission, especially for vulnerable people. Also, the rules regarding masks in particular “will continue to vary by airline beyond this date”she adds.
Resumption of air traffic
For example, mask-wearing should remain encouraged on flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required on public transport, according to the statement.
End of the mask in transport: “A more political than scientific measure”
In general, passengers should “Behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them”underlines the EASA.
In other words, a passenger “who coughs and sneezes should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure people sitting nearby”says the agency.
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This relaxation of health protection rules comes as Europeans’ appetite for travel, curbed during two years of the pandemic, is gaining momentum.
For the summer, the European air traffic monitoring body Eurocontrol forecasts up to 95% of the 2019 level, with bookings going well despite the war in Ukraine, the oil shock and inflation.