Ryanair Boeing 737 Max 8-200

Ryanair has announced they will be dropping their face mask requirements, following new European guidelines.

New EU Advice

The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has relaxed its recommendations for air travel, dropping mandatory face coverings on flights. In line with the new advice, Irish budget carrier Ryanair will no longer enforce mask-wearing on their EU flights, with a few exceptions (see below). The new rules will come into effect on 16 May. EASA’s executive director, Patrick Ky, commented:

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport.”


“For passengers and aircrews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel.”

Ryanair aircraft
Ryanair is the latest carrier to drop mask requirements | © Torsten Maiwald

While face masks are no longer mandatory, the EASA is still quick to point out that “a face mask is still one of the best protection against the transmission of COVID-19”. They advise passenger discretion, especially for those with cold and flu symptoms:

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

Exceptions to the Rule

While the new advice no longer recommends face coverings, there are still 15 European countries where masks are mandatory. As such, Ryanair passengers travelling to these countries will still have to wear masks. The countries are:

  • Austria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxemburg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson says he expects the regulations in these countries to be relaxed in response to the new advice from the EASA and urges passengers to stay up to date with the changing guidelines:

“We expect these States to relax their face mask rules over the coming days in line with these new health guidelines from EASA and the ECDC. Intending passengers can check the latest EU face mask regulations on the Re-Open EU website.”

Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson
Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson |  © The Times

Face masks on planes have been a contentious topic for many countries, with airlines and governments disagreeing on law changes. In the US, the issue even reached the president after a federal judge overturned a Whitehouse ruling on the face coverings.

What are your thoughts on the new facemask guidelines? Let us know in the comments below!



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