European Aviation Safety Agency promotes relaxation of health measures on board
The updated EASA Aviation Safety and Health Protocol calls for the mandatory use of a mask to be relaxed
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed new guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which removed its recommendation that masks should be mandatory in flight.
EASA's updated Aviation Safety and Health Protocol, published on May 11, calls for the mandatory mask rule to be relaxed where rules have been relaxed for other modes of transport. This major change reflects high levels of vaccination, levels of natural immunity, and the removal of domestic restrictions in many European nations. The updated guidance also acknowledges the need to move from an emergency situation to a more sustainable way of managing COVID-19.
“We welcome EASA's recommendation to relax the mask mandate, which is another important step on the way back to normalcy for air passengers. Travelers can expect freedom of choice about whether to wear a mask. And they 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General. .
Several jurisdictions still maintain mask requirements. That's a challenge for airlines and passengers flying between destinations with different requirements. “We believe mask requirements on board aircraft should end when masks are no longer mandatory in other parts of daily life, for example theaters, offices or on public transport. Although the European protocol comes into force next week, there is no globally consistent approach to the use of masks on board aircraft. Airlines must comply with the regulations applicable to the routes they are operating. The aircraft crew will know what rules apply and it is essential that passengers follow their instructions. And we ask all travelers to respect other people's decision to voluntarily wear masks.