Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias on Wednesday clarified that mask rules for passengers on board planes and other means of public transport in Spain remain the same and are unlikely to change in the coming days.
It follows the news hours earlier by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), who recommended Member States lift mandatory mask-wearing at airports and during flights from Monday May 16th.
Neighbouring France has followed the EU’s advice and swiftly announced it will end the obligatory face mask rule on all public transport (not just aircraft) on May 16th, but not Spain.
“Europe says that the use of the mask on flights must be aligned with national regulations and in Spain we only recently decided that in this context it remains mandatory,” Darias said in reference to the fact that Spain lifted the indoor mask rule for most indoor spaces on April 20th, but not on public transport.
“All the measures have to follow a process and therefore we have to advance with caution and proportionality as we have until now.”
Additionally, airlines can still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of their flights and the updated EU health safety measures still state that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of Covid-19.
Currently, masks remain mandatory on Ryanair flights (FFP2 for travel to and from Italy, Austria, and Germany), optional on some Easyjet flights and not mandatory but recommended on TUI or Jet2 flights from the UK, although clashing mask legislation between Spain and the UK will likely mean airlines decide to keep face coverings obligatory on flights to Spain.
Spanish flagship airline Iberia has said it will continue to follow the rules and recommendations of Spain’s Health Ministry and the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) has also pointed out that for now it is still necessary to be in compliance with national mask regulations.
Although passengers on most public transport in Spain (aeroplanes, trains, buses, taxis but not on ferries unless crowded) still have to wear a mask, a face covering is no longer mandatory inside airports, train stations, metro platforms or ports.
There are currently 14 European countries that require masks on public transport, including Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
EXPLAINED: What are Spain’s mask rules for travel?