Mandatory masks on planes: What are the airlines in Europe planning?


Foto: Bernd Hoeke

Mandatory masks on planes: What are the airlines in Europe planning?

In Germany, masks are compulsory for short- and long-distance travel, despite the loosening in the new Infection Protection Act. But what about flights departing from Germany to a country where masks are not mandatory?
Air travel counts as public passenger transport and thus falls under the mask requirement. "In the new Infection Protection Act, the mask requirement remains in place in public transport and thus also in air transport," a spokeswoman for Eurowings explained. "Medical or FFP2 masks must thus continue to be worn on board our flights." This is also confirmed by the airlines Lufthansa and Tuifly.
"As long as there are no new requirements by the authorities, the current rules will continue to be implemented on board," Tuifly said. The mask may only be removed briefly for eating or drinking. Many German airports also require masks. Frankfurt Airport is the first German Airport to abolish this requirement in the terminals.

Other countries in Europe have already eliminated the mask requirement on public transportation. In addition to the UK, these currently include the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Hungary and Switzerland.
In Switzerland, the last nationwide Covid measures were lifted as of April 1st. In response to this, Swiss International Air Lines is also abolishing the general requirement to wear masks on board - both for passengers and for flight attendants. Only if the destination country stipulates that masks are compulsory will the obligation to wear masks on aircraft remain.
There were also changes to the mask requirement in the UK. Since March 16, wearing a mask has been optional on flights within the UK. This also applies to flights departing from there to a destination country where masks are not mandatory.
As early as October 2021, Scandinavian airlines, including SAS, decided that passengers would no longer have to wear mouth-nose protection on flights within Scandinavia. However, the obligation remained on flights abroad.

In addition to Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Austria are also holding on to the mask rule in public transportation.

Various studies show that wearing a mask on board helps to contain the spread of the coronavirus. According to a study by the University of Greenwich published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, wearing a mask reduces the risk of infection by up to 73 percent - as long as the mask is worn permanently. If it is removed while eating on the plane, the risk of infection increases by 59 percent.

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