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Aer Lingus says face coverings mandatory on flights from Thursday, May 21

Aer Lingus has joined a growing number of airlines requiring passengers to wear face coverings on flights

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Photo: Aer Lingus

Photo: Aer Lingus

Photo: Aer Lingus

All passengers flying with Aer Lingus will be required to wear a mask "or suitable face covering" from Thursday, May 21.

The airline began requesting the use of masks or coverings "from the point of boarding the aircraft until they are inside the destination airport" this Monday, but will move to making them mandatory tomorrow.

"This is a temporary measure to enable us collectively play our part in keeping everyone safe on board," it said. "Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our customers and our staff is our number one priority."

It recommends passengers bring "sufficient face coverings for the duration of their journey". These do not have to be medical face masks, but can be reusable cloth or disposable coverings.

"Customers who are unable to keep a face covering in place, including children, are exempt from the mandatory application of the policy."

Passengers should consider wearing a face covering "from the time of entry into the departure airport", Aer Lingus adds, while also saying its cabin crew will be wearing "suitable face coverings" during flights.

The rule will apply until August 31, 2020.

The new policy comes as airlines around the world step up health and safety protocols ahead of a possible increase in flying schedules this summer.

Ryanair, which plans to resume up to 40pc of its flights from July, has said passengers should also wear face coverings and prepare for possible temperature checks at airports.

Emirates has conducted 'rapid Covid-19' tests, while Air France and Air Canada have announced mandatory infrared passenger temperature checks, with a body temperature below 38°C required to travel.

Airlines have also introduced enhanced cleaning, altered in-flight services, and implemented physical distancing measures during check-in and boarding.

The EU has issued guidelines as to how transport may safely resume, but there are as of yet no co-ordinated health and safety regulations between member states, nor agreed processes and measures across European airports.

The Irish Government continues to advise against all non-essential travel "until further notice", with inbound travellers required to self-isolate for 14 days.

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