From tomorrow (3 May), passengers and cabin crew onboard Brussels Airlines flights will no longer have to wear a face mask on board. This is reported by the airline itself. “The aircraft has always been a place with very low risk of contamination thanks to the advanced air filter systems. Now that the mouth mask is gone, we are taking another step towards ‘normal’ travel after the pandemic,” it said in a statement.
Since the summer of 2020, anyone who has already taken the plane has always had a face mask with them. At most airports as well as on the plane itself, it was mandatory almost always and everywhere.
The face mask obligation at Belgian airports expired at the beginning of March. “Now the experience is extended to the aircraft itself,” says Brussels Airlines. But face masks still have to be worn in healthcare institutions and on public transport (train, tram, bus and metro).
It is the company itself that made that decision. “We do not fall under the rules of public transport and so we can decide this ourselves,” says Brussels Airlines spokeswoman Kim Daenen. “The aircraft has always been a place of very low risk of contamination thanks to the advanced air filter systems,” she said. “Now that the face mask is gone, we are taking another step towards ‘normal’ travel after the pandemic.”
Brussels Airlines points out that the mouth mask may still be mandatory in foreign airports: travellers should check the rules of the destination country before departure. Of course, “passengers and staff are free to wear a mouth mask” if they wish, Daenen points out.
The mask obligation still applies to Ryanair flights, but the face mask is no longer mandatory for TUI fly flights to and from Belgium, although it is “strongly recommended“, as stated on the website. That is also how the government advises the companies themselves. “This has indeed been the case for us for a few weeks now,” confirms TUI Belgium spokesman Piet Demeyere. “Where we do maintain the mask obligation is on flights to France and Spain.”
In April, the five largest US airlines dropped masks on domestic flights and some foreign flights after a judge lifted the mask requirement on public transportation. The US Department of Justice said it would appeal the decision.