Massive rule change for Aussie travellers as masks are scrapped from inside airports THIS WEEK 


Massive rule change for Aussie travellers as masks are scrapped from inside airports THIS WEEK

  • Compulsory mask mandates at Australian airports are set to lift within days 
  • Passengers still required to wear masks while flying, apart from when eating 
  • States and territories must first make changes to their public health orders 

Rules on mask wearing in Australia’s airports will soon be scrapped but will still be required on flights, apart from when passengers are eating. 

Late on Tuesday, the federal government announced the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommended masks no longer be mandated in terminals from midnight on Friday, June 17.

Travellers will still be required to wear masks on all flights, but AHPCC said it will issue further advice on this in the future.

Health minister Mark Butler and infrastructure minister Catherine King said they ‘anticipate the travelling public will notice this change in the days following Friday’ as states and territories make changes to their public health orders.

Mask wearing in Australia's airports will no longer be compulsory from Friday. Pictured are are passengers checking in at Melbourne Airport on Friday, June 10, 2022

Mask wearing in Australia’s airports will no longer be compulsory from Friday. Pictured are are passengers checking in at Melbourne Airport on Friday, June 10, 2022

‘This changed advice comes after the AHPPC has reviewed the current Covid-19 situation in Australia and considers it no longer proportionate to mandate mask wearing in the terminals,’ the ministers said in a joint statement.

They said AHPPC had ‘noted all states and territories have relaxed mask mandates in most community settings’.

Australians are recommended by AHPPC to continue to wear masks as a key measure to help minimise the spread of Covid-19 and influenza.

‘Masks help us protect the most vulnerable in our community who are unable to get vaccinated and people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness,’ the ministers said.

The European Union stopped enforcing mask wearing on flights in May, though application of the rule change was down to individual member states. 

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it hoped ditching masks would mark ‘a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel’.

The step was taken after considering vaccination levels and naturally acquired immunity, as well as the lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries.

EASA executive director Patrick Ky cautioned that passengers should still behave responsibly.

‘A passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby,’ he said.

Passenger and crew on a Qantas flight are pictured wearing face masks in September 2020. Doing so is still compulsory on aeroplanes in Australia

Passenger and crew on a Qantas flight are pictured wearing face masks in September 2020. Doing so is still compulsory on aeroplanes in Australia

Airlines welcomed the changes and called for a consistent approach to mask mandates.

‘We believe that mask requirements on board aircraft should end when masks are no longer mandated in other parts of daily life, for example theatres, offices or on public transport,’ said Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association.

Australia’s loosening of rules will be welcomed by Australian airport operators who have been calling for the mandate’s removal.

There were 25,622 new Covid-19 cases recorded across Australia on Tuesday.

From Monday, May 16, wearing face masks on flights in Europe is no longer be compulsory. Pictured are people on a plane

From Monday, May 16, wearing face masks on flights in Europe is no longer be compulsory. Pictured are people on a plane

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