Qantas to drop mask mandate for some international flights

Qantas will soon allow passengers to travel without masks on some international flights, the airline said.

This comes despite face coverings remaining compulsory on all domestic flights.

Aussie airports will soon remove the mandate following state and territory chief health officers recommending on Tuesday that the mandates were “no longer proportionate” for terminals as masks are optional in most other public settings.

A Qantas spokesperson said on Wednesday that it would follow many other countries in dropping the mask mandate on domestic and inbound international flights, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The airline will soon drop mask mandates to foreign destinations where masks were optional on flights, including the USA, UK and Europe.

This means that passengers will have to wear masks on parts of their journeys – such as the domestic stop for a flight to London – but not others.

“We appreciate some of our customers may find mask requirements confusing, particularly when they have connecting flights, and we’re doing our best to help them prepare for their flights,” the Qantas spokesman said.

“Studies show the risk of transmission inside aircraft cabins is very low due to the air being refreshed every few minutes, in addition to forward-facing seats and HEPA filters which capture 99 per cent of airborne particles.”

The Herald reported that there is low risk of catching COVID-19 on a plane, according to the aviation industry, because of their filtration systems. A Boeing study revealed that sitting next to a person who coughs on a plane is the same as sitting two metres away from them in a building.

Although a different study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine found wearing masks reduces the risk of disease spread even further.