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Published on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Face mask warning for air passengers

Passengers who refuse to wear face masks risk being booted off flights and slapped with a heavy fine, warns airline body IATA as some airlines tighten rules for those who can't wear masks for medical reasons.

From next month, Lufthansa Group airlines will insist non-mask-wearing passengers present a negative Covid-19 test plus a medical certificate stating why they can't wear a face covering.

Lufthansa announced the new measures, which also apply to Austrian Airlines and Swiss, as IATA appealed to all travellers to wear masks 'for the safety of all passengers and crew' following report of passengers refusing to use a face covering during flights.

"While this is confined to a very small number of individuals, some on-board incidents have become violent, resulting in costly and extremely inconvenient diversions to offload these passengers," said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

"This is a call for common sense and taking responsibility. The vast majority of travellers understand the importance of face covering both for themselves as well as for their fellow passengers, and airlines appreciate this collective effort.

"But a small minority create problems. Safety is at the core of aviation, and compliance with crew safety instructions is the law. Failure to comply can jeopardize a flight's safety, disrupt the travel experience of other passengers and impact the work environment for crew."

IATA warned passengers that when they buy a ticket, they agree to the airline's terms and conditions, which can include the airline's right to refuse carriage to a person 'whose behaviour interferes with a flight, violates government regulations or causes other passengers to feel unsafe'.

Airlines also highlight the need to wear a face covering during the booking process, at check-in, at the gate and in onboard announcements.

Failure to comply means that a passenger faces the risk of being offloaded from their flight, restrictions on future carriage or penalties under national laws, added IATA.

According to tests at the University of Edinburgh, face covering, when properly worn, can cut the forward spread of potential Covid-19 droplets from the mouth by 90%.

"The research we have seen to date, and our own investigations with the world's airlines, tell us that the risk of catching Covid-19 on a flight remains very low," said IATA Medical Advisor Dr David Powell.

"There appears to be a number of factors supporting that. The high flow rate of cabin air from top to bottom, constant filtering of air through state-of-the-art HEPA filters, the fact that all seats face the same direction and of course wearing a face covering and sanitization of the aircraft all play a part."

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  • Protecting You

    I am 72 years of age, and have become used to my mask and hand sanitizer. What will they do?

    By ROBIN DELISSER, Monday, September 21, 2020

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