The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday said, Air travellers who refuse to wear face masks or any face covering could face penalties and even be removed from aircraft.
Wearing face coverings during travel is a key recommendation of the UN-backed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) guidance for safe operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Failure to conform means that passengers face the “risk of being offloaded, restrictions on future carriage or penalties under national laws.”
IATA is therefore appealing to all travellers to wear face covering during the travel journey for the safety of all passengers and crew during COVID-19 to avoid being santioned…
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said: “This is a call for common sense and taking responsibility. The vast majority of travellers understand the importance of face covering both for themselves as well as for their fellow passengers, and airlines appreciate this collective effort. But a small minority create problems. Safety is at the core of aviation, and compliance with crew safety instructions is the law. Failure to comply can jeopardize a flight’s safety, disrupt the travel experience of other passengers and impact the work environment for crew.”
“Safety is at the core of aviation and compliance with crew safety instructions is the law.”
“Failure to comply can jeopardise a flight’s safety, disrupt the travel experience of other passengers and impact the work environment for crew.”
IATA further explained that airlines has the right to offload a person whose behaviour interferes with a flight, violates government regulations and threatens the safety of other passengers, under the terms set out when issuing a ticket.
However, Iata – which represents nearly 290 airlines carrying 82 per cent of global air traffic – said there are reports about travellers refusing to wear masks when embarking on a flight.
While this is confined to a very small number of individuals, some on-board incidents have become violent, resulting in costly and extremely inconvenient diversions to offload these passengers, the agency added.
Masks, when properly worn, can stem the spread of Covid-19 virus through the mouth by up to 90 per cent, according to a study by the University of Edinburgh.
Other measures taken by the aviation industry to ensure the safety of passengers include offering contactless check-in and immigration facilities, regular sanitisation at airports and on aircraft and the use of contact tracing apps.
Governments around the world are gradually easing travel restrictions as they reopen their economies. However, demand for air travel has not picked up as industry experts had anticipated.
Other measures to protect the safety of passengers during the pandemic include contactless check-in and immigration formalities at both the departure and arrival airports, social distancing where possible, increased cleaning and sanitization at airports and on aircraft, and contact tracing.
“The research we have seen to date, and our own investigations with the world’s airlines, tell us that the risk of catching COVID-19 on a flight remains very low. There appears to be a number of factors supporting that. The high flow rate of cabin air from top to bottom, constant filtering of air through state-of-the-art HEPA filters, the fact that all seats face the same direction and of course wearing a face covering and sanitization of the aircraft all play a part,” said IATA’s Medical Advisor, Dr David Powell.
“This is not just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone else on the flight,” he said.