Masks will no longer be required in airplanes and airports

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European authorities have formally dropped the recommendation to wear protective masks on board aircraft and at airports as part of a review of pandemic security measures.

The revision of the common health safety protocol will enter into force on 16 May. Progress is being made on vaccination against Covid-19 and the development of natural immunity.

"These masks will no longer be mandatory on air travel…", said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. "This is a big step towards normalizing air travel."

Ky added that passengers should continue to "behave responsibly" and "respect the choices of others". These masks remain one of the best protective measures against the transmission of Covid-19 and are effective in preventing the spread of other diseases. EASA has revised the protocol in collaboration with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Although the review will recommend that the rules on operations be relaxed, individual airline and travel requirements may vary after the May 16 implementation date. In other words, some airlines may keep this measure as a form of prevention.

EASA says passengers are encouraged to respect physical distance, but adds that airport operators should be "pragmatic" and avoid situations such as blockages, especially if distance is not required at regional or national level.

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