End of a COVID era: mandatory masks scrapped for domestic flights

National Cabinet has agreed to remove mandatory mask wearing on all domestic flights.

From Friday September 9, face masks will no longer be required on any domestic flights, including Australia’s two largest carriers, Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Welcomed by national carriers, this change brings Australia in line with the US, UK and some European countries, who have axed masks onboard domestic flights for several months.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke of the changes to mandatory masks on domestic flights and COVID-19 isolation requirements in a press conference held after yesterday’s National Cabinet meeting.

“I believe and First Ministers agree that on the weight of evidence this was a proportionate response at this point of the pandemic,” the Prime Minister said.

Qantas maintains the risk of transmission inside an aircraft cabin remains low

A spokesperson for Qantas maintains the risk of transmission inside an aircraft cabin remains low thanks to forward-facing seats and HEPA filters, which capture 99.9 per cent of airborne particles.

While passengers will no longer need to pack a mask when travelling in Australia, it doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t be seeing masks onboard domestic flights anymore.

Qantas is expected to continue to hand out masks to passengers who prefer to wear one, while Virgin has commented that it supports anyone who wishes to remain masked too.

Yesterday’s news comes months after the air travel mask mandate was first eased for airports in June.

While the consensus amongst the government and airline spokespeople appears to be that this was the right time to make such a move, many passengers feel let down by the decision to drop the mask mandate.

Will you still choose to wear a mask on domestic flights?

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