The European Union has declared to drop the obligation of wearing masks for passengers on the flight in airports, following an update to guidelines for the aviation industry.
EU’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said the recommendation for wearing masks at the airport would be lifted on May 16,
The recommendation for mandatory wearing of medical masks in airports and on board a flight is being lifted on May 16 while noting that a face mask is still one of the best protection against the transmission of Covid-19.
The updated guidance considers the latest developments in the pandemic, “in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries,” the EASA said in a statement.
The move is a big step forward and broadly aligns with public transport rules across Europe, according to EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky.
“For passengers and aircrews, this is a big step forward in normalising air travel. Passengers should, however, behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask to reassure those seated nearby.”
Meanwhile, the ECDC’s Director Andrea Ammon said that “while risks do remain, we have seen non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to normal.”
There are hopes that the removal of mask-wearing mandates will be a shot in the arm to an aviation and tourism industry hit hard over the last two years, as a significant number of people have put off travelling while there have been extra layers of Covid requirements, from Covid tests and vaccinations to passenger locator forms and mask-wearing on board aircraft.
Many countries have dropped Covid testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, and passenger locator forms as significant numbers of their populations are fully vaccinated and boosted.