Travellers will be wearing a mask aboard flights for the foreseeable future, as aviation experts believe it will be impossible for single carriers to remove the policy anytime soon.
Aviation insiders believe UK airlines will look for “international consistency” before allowing a policy change, acting as one.
“Until there is a harmonised lifting of mask mandates on flights by governments worldwide it is simpler for airlines to keep the rules in place,” a source told the Times.
Ryanai’s chief financial officer Neil Sorahan yesterday said the low-cost carrier wasn’t planning to remove mandatory face coverings.
“Masks will be something that will be with us for a while longer to come. If that is the price we have to pay for the next few months, into summer — it’s a small price to pay,” he said.
Sorahan compared the mandatory use of masks to the security rules introduced post 9/11 such as the limitations on liquids.
“It’s a bit like after 9/11, we ended up with our toiletries in plastic bags, maybe we’ll have to live with masks for a while longer.”
According to David Warnock-Smith, aviation management professor at Buckinghamshire New University, mandatory face masks will help aviation get back on its feet.
“Airlines are currently going through a very tenuous recovery and as restrictions are removed, the focus will be on rebuilding consumer confidence,” he told City A.M. “Part of this means taking reasonable steps to ensure passengers feel safe whilst they travel.
“It should also be seen as only one part of an overall commitment to the high levels of hygiene and cleanliness that air passengers have rightly come to expect whilst at the airport and during their flights.”