After two years, Europe is slowly preparing for the post-Covid-19 era. Many countries on the continent are lifting mask requirements on their territories, however, things are more complicated in the context of international air travel.
Most European airlines still have a strict mask policy onboard their aircraft, but the situation is now gradually changing, with several companies, especially in the United Kingdom, changing course.
British Companies First to Change Policies
At the beginning of March, Jet2 became the first major airline to phase out face masks. TUI Airways followed suit on March 11th. At the same time, Heathrow Airport in London has also announced it would lift mask requirements inside the airport.
And the most recent airline to introduce a similar policy change is British Airways, which announced via Twitter that mask requirement onboard has been partially lifted.
“Where we’re clear the destination you’re travelling to doesn’t require a face mask on board, it will become optional,” the tweet reads. It therefore depends on the regulations in the destination country whether masks will still be mandatory.
Virgin Atlantic have decided for a similar step. “We are learning to live with Covid and now that the legal requirement to wear a face mask has been lifted in England, we believe our customers should have a personal choice as to whether they want to wear a mask on board,” Corneel Koster, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, said.
From the Netherlands to France
However, the above-mentioned are not the only European airlines to make a change in regulation with regards to mask requirements.
Dutch carriers KLM and its subsidiary Transavia have decided not to require masks onboard their aircraft from March 23 in a slight protest against the recent steps from the Dutch government.
The airlines have stated that they are disappointed by the fact that masks remain mandatory at airports and onboard planes, despite the easing of mask regulations across the country, including public transport.
At the same time, they state that it increases aggression and dissatisfaction among passengers and thus jeopardizes safety onboard the plane.
Finally, besides Heathrow, two more major airports have decided to lift mask requirements. These are the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, the second largest airport on the continent, and the Orly airport, also located in the French capital.