On Wednesday, Europe’s aviation regulator and disease control agency moved to relax bloc-wide face mask rules by lifting a mask mandate recommendation for air travel. The change will come into effect from Monday May 16, although not all EU member states comply with the recommendation.
Instead, individual countries will still be able to choose to enforce their own face mask mandates for air travel and some airlines, including Ryanair, have confirmed they will enforce face mask mandates where they still exist.
There are currently 15 countries in the European Union that still require passengers to wear face masks on board planes. These countries are:
Additionally, Austria and Italy require passengers to wear an FFP2 or equivalent mask on board flights, while France requires passengers to wear a disposable surgical mask or better.
However, just under half of countries in the European Union have already scrapped face mask rules for air travel. These countries are:
Ryanair’s Eddie Wilson says he expects more countries to drop air travel mask rules in the coming days based on recommendations from the European Aviation Safety Agency and European Control Centers diseases.
In cases where mask rules have not been lifted, Wilson says Ryanair will still require passengers to wear face masks.
However, not all European airlines take such a strong stance on enforcement. Finnair and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines no longer actively enforce face mask rules. As for US airlines serving Europe, masks are mandatory on flights for the 15 countries listed above but are not mandatory after departure from those countries.
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