Masks will no longer be required on any flights operated by KLM, one of the most popular air carriers operating between Europe and North America, and a number of other Dutch airlines have announced that masks will no longer be required on any flights operated by them after the Netherlands plans to repeal all remaining COVID-19 regulations on March 23, 2022.
Even while the news will undoubtedly be appreciated by COVID-weary travelers, it does not necessarily imply that KLM and its rivals are following official guidelines, since the government has not yet decided that face masks should no longer be required on flights in the United States.
From March 23, masks will no longer be required on flights operated by KLM, Transavia, and TUI Nederland. The Netherlands stated earlier this week that it will be repealing the vast majority of its COVID regulations on March 23, including laws for the wearing of facial coverings both inside and outside. Despite the fact that these would be implemented over the whole nation, air travel has been excluded.
Following a meeting on March 15, the Cabinet defended its decision to impose the use of masks on flights by stating that it is part of a “international accord.” Officials at the airline were not pleased with the fact that not only KLM, but also Transavia, Corendon, and TUI Nederland had taken the initiative to eliminate face masks on their own.
Despite comments made by the Dutch government, these airlines will not require passengers to conceal their faces when flying starting on March 23. Representatives from Transavia and TUI went so far as to label the government’s decision “irresponsible,” stating that it would lead to an increase in hostile behavior among passengers.
KLM, on the other hand, was more circumspect in its language, with its representatives describing the government’s decision as “disappointing,” especially in light of the fact that mask use would be prohibited in every other enclosed setting. According to KLM, the aviation industry as a whole believes that this strategy is “wrong,” especially given the present stage of the epidemic.
KLM claimed in support of its own choice to split with the government that the action is “at conflict with European and worldwide events that we regularly monitor.” According to recent developments, Europe is abandoning its harsh methods, which were designed to keep COVID-19 out of the country as much as possible throughout the crisis.
In recent years, a number of European countries have abandoned all health regulations at their borders, including Montenegro, Ireland, Hungary, Romania, and a number of other countries. Airlines seem to be feeling targeted as the Netherlands prepares to open its borders more on March 23, when the country’s required mask use will be phased out.
KLM is in discussions with the government over the use of face masks as a requirement.
KLM acknowledged in an official statement that they are in conversation with the authorities because they think that “wearing face masks is no longer explainable” to passengers. Transavia is also vehemently opposed to the policy, with a representative telling NH Nieuws that the airline was “disappointed” and “dismayed” that face masks were no longer required on public transportation, but were still required on flights, among other things.
Transavia issued a statement in which it claimed that “it is not true that this is due to international agreements” and raised the issue of flight safety once more, claiming that the unpopular measure “leads to non-compliance and more aggression.” Transavia also expressed concern about the safety of passengers on flights. According to one regional station, TUI Nederland is “mad” over the requirement, which has caused them to suspend operations.
“Passengers are becoming less and less ready to comply with this commitment, particularly when it is not enforced in the rest of society,” says TUI. Following the recent regulation of mask use, the airline claims that “violence on board” has increased against both employees and passengers, further pressing the government to rethink its position in this matter.
Specifically, TUI has said that they would “no longer monitor compliance with the mask duty on board,” and the Cabinet – the task group in charge of regulating COVID legislation in the nation – has been urged to “transform this need to wear a face mask into an urgent proposal.” Accordingly, unless there is an emergency, mask use would cease to be routinely performed.
Is it possible that other airlines may rebel and/or provide new guidelines for mask use?
The Omicron variant, which was responsible for sending the travel industry into a tailspin at the end of last year after it had already been severely impacted, is finally showing signs of waning as booster campaigns across Europe ramp up and more countries relax entry restrictions, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In the month of March alone, 11 people abolished all Covid entrance requirements.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in accordance with industry requests for a return to normalcy, has lately advocated for the relaxation of all remaining travel restrictions in Europe, including visa requirements. Travelers have encountered several difficulties during the pandemic, owing to the fact that each continent has its own set of restrictions for crossing borders.
Expect additional airlines to announce changes in their mask requirements in the near future, as a pandemic-aware public and a battered tourism sector fight for the restoration of pre-pandemic normalcy. The Dutch government has not yet responded to the airline boycott, which is still ongoing.
The use of face masks and the covering of the mouth and nose will no longer be necessary for passengers travelling with KLM, Transavia, or TUI Nederland inside the European space, or transcontinentally, as of March 23, 2018.
Travelers should, however, remain up to speed with the newest developments and make certain that they adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.