From next Monday, May 16th, the guidance will go. It puts air travel into line with other modes of public transport across Europe and will impact those heading to mountain destinations this summer. UPDATED
Many rules have already been relaxed in many European countries including the alpine nations of France and Italy.
Airlines across Europe including Swiss, BA and Norwegian have also relaxed measures.
The guidance has been announced by the EU Aviation Safety Agency, EASA.
“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 EASA executive director, Patrick Ky.
“It is a relief to all of us that we are finally reaching a stage in the pandemic where we can start to relax the health safety measures,” he added.
It has been pointed out that facemasks, along with personal hygiene measures, remain the best way to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC, said.
There are exceptions where governments still require mandatory mask wearing on public transport.
“We welcome this rule relaxation. Face masks will then be optional on all Ryanair flights except where masks remain mandatory, ” said Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson.
“We expect these states to relax their face mask rules over the coming days in line with these new health guidelines.”
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