Last week, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a clear recommendation to dispense with the mandatory wearing of masks on aircraft throughout the EU as early as May 16, 2022. This should be given if there is also no obligation to wear masks in public transport in the respective country. The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), representing more than 100 German and international airlines, supports the initiative of the two European authorities and advocates – like the German Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Volker Wissing, and other industry associations, such as the German Aviation Association (BDL) – its implementation in Germany as well. According to the current Infection Protection Act in Germany, the obligation to wear a mask would continue to apply until the law expires on September 23, 2022.
Michael Hoppe, BARIG Secretary General, states: “Particularly during the pandemic, it has been evident time and again that is extremely important and sensible to have a uniform approach throughout Europe. This should now also be the case in the current discussion regarding the end of mask-wearing on public transport and airplanes. There is a clear recommendation from the EU authorities - based on scientific and pandemic insights - according to which an obligation to wear protective masks is no longer necessary. Therefore, we call on German policymakers to get active and implement the European recommendations as quickly as possible, thus, following the example of other EU countries as well. In view of the current situation, a unilateral national approach is incomprehensible and cannot be communicated clearly to the consumers.”
In this context, BARIG points to the comprehensive hygiene and protection measures taken by the airlines. These include ventilation and air conditioning systems in the aircraft using efficient HEPA filters which have proven to make the air onboard significantly cleaner than in other areas of life.