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11th May 2022

Europe scraps mandatory face masks for air travel

Kat O'Connor

The changes will come into effect next week.

As of next week, passengers will no longer have to wear face coverings on EU flights.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and ECDC confirmed they are dropping the recommendation for the mandatory wearing of medical masks in airports and onboard a flight.

However, they have told passengers that wearing a face mask is still one of the best protections against Covid-19.

They believe it is the right time to drop this measure due to high vaccine uptake, as well as naturally acquired immunity.

They were also encouraged by the “lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries”.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases.

“This broadly aligns with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport.”

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said this is “a big step forward” for passengers and aircrews.

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

“Non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal.”

“A passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

People should continue practicing good hand hygiene and physical distancing.

People who are elderly or high-risk should continue to wear face masks.

An FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask will give you the best protection.

The new recommendations will come into effect from May 16th, 2022.

However, rules for masks in particular will continue to vary by airline beyond that date.

The EASA acknowledges that the risk of contracting Covid is still there, but it is not as high as it once was.

Face coverings are not mandatory on Irish flights, but they are strongly recommended.