Starting February 1, 2021, Lufthansa will become the first airline to no longer permit fabric masks to be worn on their aircraft.
Lufthansa Tightens Policy
The German carrier is tightening its mask policy amid the coronavirus pandemic and will no longer permit fabric masks to be worn on their aircraft. Beginning February 1, the German airline would require passengers to wear only surgical masks, FFP2, KN95, and N95 masks, the Denver Channel said in a report.
The company said that travelers must wear masks at all times, including boarding, while onboard, and departing the aircraft. Passengers are still permitted to wear visors and masks with valves, Lufthansa said.
Exceptions would be accepted to the new regulation only if a passenger presents a negative COVID-19 test result that is not older than 48 hours and a medical certificate on the Lufthansa Group form.
The new rule is applicable on all flights to and from Germany. Customers will be informed of the changes by email, and the group will also post notifications on its websites and social media channels.
“In principle, infection on board is very unlikely. All Lufthansa Group aircraft are equipped with the highest quality air filters, which ensure air quality similar to that in an operating theatre. In addition, the air circulates vertically instead of being dispersed throughout the cabin.”
In other news, Business Traveller said the airline had released more details on its forthcoming buy-on-board food and drink service for economy short and medium-haul passengers, which will be introduced over the course of the summer 2021 timetable.
The airlines of the Lufthansa Group had already introduced a requirement to wear a mouth-nose mask on board their flights in May of last year, making them one of the pioneers worldwide.
By adapting the regulation, the Lufthansa Group is now taking up the resolution passed by the federal and state governments in Germany on January 19. This means that uniform rules apply along the entire travel chain.
The adjusted mandatory mask-wearing requirement is applicable in all passenger areas at German airports as well as onboard of aircraft of Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Condor, Eurowings, Swiss International Air Lines and TUIfly, besides Lufthansa. The obligation applies to both departing and arriving flights to Germany. The masks are to be provided by the passengers themselves.
The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), the association of national and international airlines in Germany said that it is currently in close consultation with its international member airlines regarding the implementation of the respective requirement.
German media reports said surgical masks look similar to lower-grade masks that don’t meet the standards for medical-grade face coverings. They must have multiple layers of fabric, a metal strut that sits across the nose, and say on their packaging that they are type II or III and CE rated, Germany’s Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Devices says on its website.
Type I surgical masks are not medical-grade. FFP2 or FFP3 masks are said to offer the best protection against the coronavirus. They shield the wearer and those nearby from larger particles found in the mouth and nose, called droplets, and from smaller particles called aerosols, the institute says. KN95 or N95 provide the same protection.