Passengers no longer need to wear masks on some SIA flights
From Monday (Aug 29), passengers taking some Singapore Airlines (SIA) flights will no longer need to wear face masks, as it joins other international carriers such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic that put in similar policies earlier this year.
Only passengers travelling to or from destinations that require a face mask on flights will need to wear one, SIA said in reply to media queries.
Countries are currently divided in their Covid-19 regulations. In Europe, Germany and Spain still require passengers to wear a mask while the Netherlands and the United Kingdom do not.
In South-east Asia, all countries require masks with the exception of Thailand. Australia requires masks while New Zealand does not, and Canada requires masks while the United States does not.
SIA said it will update its website on the changes to its mask-wearing rules as they evolve, and passengers should constantly check for the latest version.
The airline's updating of its policy follows changes in the latest guidelines from the Singapore Government, which is mostly removing the need for face masks except on public transport and at healthcare facilities such as hospitals.
Masks are also not required inside Changi Airport.
Industry observers have been recommending for months that the mask mandate be removed from planes. The high rate of ventilation on planes means the risk of contracting Covid-19 on a flight is lower than the risk from other activities such as going to a shopping mall or working in an office, they said.
All SIA and Scoot planes are equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (Hepa) filters, which remove 99.97 per cent of airborne microbes, including viruses and bacteria, and refresh the cabin air every two or three minutes.
Other airlines that also no longer mandate masks on board include London-based EasyJet, Scandinavian Airlines, Dutch carrier KLM and American ultra low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines.