Coronavirus: Low-cost airline says its passengers will need to wear masks on board

Low-cost airline Wizz Air has confirmed its passengers will be required to wear masks on board its flights from now on.

The Hungarian operator joins Germany’s Lufthansa in introducing the policy, which is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Passengers who do not bring a mask with them to the airport are going to be offered one for free.

Under European law, carriers have to fill their slots at major airports such as Heathrow at least 80% of the time or they risk losing them.

March: Flights virtually empty across the world

Wizz Air recently announced plans to resume some of its routes from London Luton on 1 May, becoming one of the first European airlines to reintroduce services.

The company had initially said that only cabin crew would be required to wear masks on its flights – as well as gloves – so a catering service could still be provided.

A previous statement had added: “To help passengers and crew travel safely and worry-free, Wizz Air has introduced several additional security measures to support physical distancing during boarding and enhanced cleanliness on board.

“As part of the measures to protect the health of customers and crew, customers should check-in and make any purchases online, such as paying for additional bags, to reduce non-essential interaction at the airport.

“Wizz Air will continue its stringent daily cleaning schedule, with the entire aircraft being disinfected overnight, following official guidelines.”

The guidance on face masks has evolved over the course of the pandemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had initially said there was no evidence that wearing them would help stop the spread of COVID-19. It later reversed its guidance, and said those infected with coronavirus should wear a mask and self-isolate.

With global economies itching to get back into action, the use of masks could become commonplace on transport networks.

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In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that everyone should wear a mask when they leave the house, with other US states following suit.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged the government to implement the same system on the capital’s transport network, but ministers have said the science shows they would be of limited use in the UK.

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