Air transport travelers face the risk of penalties for refusing to wear face covers.
The use of face shields is a key recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidance for safe operations during the pandemic, developed jointly with the World Health Organization and governments.
IATA emphasizes the need for passengers to comply with the recommendation following recent reports of travelers refusing to wear a face cover during a flight.
While this is limited to a very small number of people, some air travel incidents have turned violent, resulting in costly and extremely inconvenient diversions to unload these passengers.
“This is a call for common sense and responsibility. The vast majority of travelers understand the importance of covering their faces for themselves and their fellow travelers, and airlines appreciate this collective effort. But a small minority creates problems.
“Safety is at the core of aviation and compliance with crew safety instructions is the law. Non-compliance can jeopardize the safety of a flight, disrupt the travel experience of other passengers and affect the working environment of the crew, ”said Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association.
An airline ticket is a contract under which the passenger accepts the terms and conditions of carriage of the airline.
Those conditions may include the airline’s right to deny transportation to a person whose behavior interferes with a flight, violates government regulations, or makes other passengers feel unsafe.
Airlines also highlight the need to cover your face during the booking process, at check-in, at the boarding gate and in on-board announcements.
Non-compliance means that a passenger faces the risk of being unloaded from their flight, restrictions on future air travel, or penalties under national laws.
Air transport and face covering
According to tests from the University of Edinburgh, covering the face, when used correctly, can reduce the forward spread of potential Covid-19 drops from the mouth by 90 percent.
“The research we’ve seen to date, and our own investigations with the world’s airlines, tell us that the risk of contracting Covid-19 on a flight remains very low. There seem to be a number of factors that support that.
“The high cabin airflow rate from top to bottom, the constant air filtration through state-of-the-art HEPA filters, the fact that all seats face the same direction, and of course the use of a face shield and disinfection of the aircraft all play a part, ”said IATA Medical Advisor David Powell.
“It’s not just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone else on the flight, ”he said.