Last Wednesday, Europe’s aviation regulator and disease control agency moved to unwind bloc-wide face mask rules by lifting a mask mandate recommendation for air travel. The change took effect on Monday, 16th May although not every EU member state fell in line with the recommendation.
Instead, individual countries still get to choose whether to enforce their own face mask mandate for air travel and some airlines, including Ryanair, have confirmed they will enforce mask mandates where they remain in existence.
These are the European Union countries that still require passengers to wear face masks on board aeroplanes:
In addition, both Austria and Italy require passengers to wear an FFP2 mask or equivalent onboard flights, while the likes of France require passengers to wear a disposable surgical mask or better.
More than half of European Union countries have, however, already dropped 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 the recommendations of the European Air Safety Agency and European Centres for Disease Control.
In cases where mask rules haven’t been lifted, Wilson says Ryanair will still require passengers to wear face masks.
So far, the following countries say they will drop air travel mask rules following EU recommendations:
- Netherlands (from May 21)
- Greece (from June 1)
Not all European airlines, though, are taking such a tough stance on enforcement. Finnair and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines no longer enforce actively face mask rules. As for U.S. airlines flying to Europe, masks are required on flights to the 15 listed countries above but are not required after departure from those countries.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.