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Welcome to the Monday, May 16, Brew. 

Ryanair to drop face masks on flights to EU countries - excluding 15 destinations

By Daniel Morrow

Face masks will not longer be mandatory on Ryanair flights to a number of EU countries, the airline has confirmed.

On Wednesday, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommended that the face mask mandate on board flights should no longer be required on board flights to EU countries from next Monday.

They said that the decision was made amid an improving global situation in the fight against Covid.

In a statement, Ryanair has welcomed the move and will remove the requirement for passengers to wear a face covering on board flights to several destinations.

But the rule will remain in place on flights heading to 15 EU states where face masks remain mandatory on public transport.

These include the likes of Spain, France, Portugal and Italy.

However, the airline is anticipating these countries to lift their face mask rules in the near future in light of this recommendation.

Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: “We welcome this rule relaxation from the EASA and the ECDC effective from Monday, May 16.

“From that date, face masks will be optional on all Ryanair flights, except those flights to and from the 15 EU states where masks remain mandatory on public transport.

“We expect these states to relax their face mask rules over the coming days in line with these new health guidelines from EASA and the ECDC.

“Intending passengers can check the latest EU face mask regulations on the Re-Open EU website.”

The 15 countries on Ryanair’s schedules which will still require mandatory rules on face masks includes:

  • Austria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germant
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxemburg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Both the EASA and ECDC have continued to urge people to wear a face mask on board all flights wherever possible as it is “still one of the best protections against the transmission” of the virus.

It is hoped that the move will help relive the burden on the aviation industry as it continues to recover from the pandemic.

Holidaymakers will still be required to wear a face mask on board flights where airlines have asked them to. Travellers have also been urged to double check the rules at the destination they are flying to.

When announcing the recommendation yesterday, Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director, said: “It is a relief to all of us that we are finally reaching a stage in the pandemic where we can start to relax the health safety measures.

“For many passengers, and also aircrew members, there is a strong desire for masks to no longer be a mandatory part of air travel. We are now at the start of that process.

“Passengers should continue to comply with the requirements of their airline and, where preventive measures are optional, make responsible decisions and respect the choice of other passengers. In particular, a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

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