Dutch flagship carrier KLM and subsidiary Transavia will no longer enforce the compulsory wearing of masks on their planes from March 23, the airlines have confirmed.
The Dutch government has lifted the requirement to wear a mask on public transport but said said it would remain in place at airports as well as on planes, in line with EU guidelines.
However, the decision led to angry reactions from the airline sector. ‘This is causing non-compliance and anger [among passengers] and is jeopardising flight safety,’ a spokesman for Transavia told NH Nieuws.
KLM described the government’s decision as ‘disappointing’ given that measures are being relaxed throughout the Netherlands. ‘The sector considers this approach [to airlines] to be inappropriate, given the phase which the pandemic is now in,’ a spokesman told RTL.
Charter companies TUI and Corendon also said they no longer require passengers to wear face masks because of aggression towards airline crew.
The airlines said they will stress the importance of wearing face masks on board the plane but there will be no sanctions if people refuse.
Other changes to the travel requirements were welcomed by the airlines.
People travelling to the Netherlands from within the EU or a Schengen country will no longer have to prove they have been vaccinated or tested negative from March 23, and EU nationals travelling to the Netherlands from outside the EU will also no longer have to show a negative test.
However, Dutch nationals travelling abroad will still need a QR code or Digital Covid Certificate to enter other EU countries.
The current rules for non-EU nationals travelling to the Netherlands from outside the EU remain in place, although there are exceptions for people who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from coronavirus, and who have a specific reason to travel.
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