Aer Lingus says passengers must wear face masks

Masks can be disposable or reusable

Aer Lingus is asking passengers to provide their own face masks. Photograph: iStock

Aer Lingus is asking passengers to provide their own face masks. Photograph: iStock


All passengers flying with Aer Lingus from Thursday May 21st must wear masks, the Irish airline has confirmed.

Aer Lingus is operating less than 10 per cent of normal services as Covid-19 travel bans remain in Europe and North America, but is flying some services for essential travel.

The airline has emailed passengers booked on flights to say that face masks would be mandatory from Thursday May 21st. Since last Monday it has requested travellers on its flights to wear them. Pilots and crew have been wearing them for some time.

“From Thursday 21st May, Aer Lingus is making the wearing of face coverings mandatory upon arrival at the boarding gate, on board the aircraft and until customers arrive at their destination arrivals hall,” the airline confirmed.

“Aer Lingus is kindly asking all customers to bring their own face covering, which can be a disposable mask or reusable cloth mask. The obligation to wear a face covering on-board will apply until at least August 31st 2020.” Young children unable to maintain a face covering are exempt.

The airline said that it would keep passengers informed of new precautions as Government and health services’ advice changed.

Debate continues over the effectiveness of masks as airlines bid to find a way of reviving their businesses, which travel bans have wiped out over the last two months.


Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Holdings chief executive, said earlier this week that experts believe masks limit about 98.5 per cent of the risk of transmitting coronavirus. Others have disputed this.

Aer Lingus parent, International Consolidated Airlines Group, Ryanair and other carriers hope to restart flying, albeit with severely reduced schedules, from July, what would have been one of their busiest months.

“We are reviewing our future operating schedule on an ongoing basis and following guidance from relevant governments in relation to when we will be able to operate particular routes,” Aer Lingus said.