The requirement that passengers wear face masks at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is being phased out.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, the two largest airlines that use the airport, are also modifying their regulations.
Travelers through Britain’s busiest airport will no longer be required to wear a facial covering in the terminals or public transportation stations at LHR as of March 16, 2022, according to the operator.
“The removal of the mandatory requirement reflects society’s move towards learning to live with COVID longer term. It is now possible because of the continued strong protection provided by vaccination programs around the world,” Heathrow Airport said in a statement on March 15, 2022.
With the legal requirement to wear a face mask now removed in England, we believe our customers should have the personal choice whether to wear a mask onboard 🛫
The mask rules that apply will depend on the route you’re flying, because requirements differ by destination.
— virginatlantic (@VirginAtlantic) March 15, 2022
Despite the fact that it is no longer a legal obligation, the operator said it “highly urges” guests at the airport to continue wearing a mask, particularly when in close proximity to others. It also stated that if COVID-19 instances increase or a new variety of concerns emerges, it will not hesitate to reintroduce the mask mandate.
The majority of Britain’s COVID-19 limitations have been lifted, with Transport Minister Grant Shapps declaring that all remaining travel restrictions, including the Passenger Locator Form and all arrivals’ tests, will be phased out starting at 4 a.m. on March 18, 2022.
“These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter,” Shapps commented.
Face masks will no longer be required on some Virgin Atlantic itineraries from March 16, starting with services to the Caribbean from London Heathrow and Manchester (MAN).
From March 16, passengers will only be forced to wear a face mask on flights if the destination needs it, according to British Airways.
Heathrow, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways all stated masks would be provided to those who wished to keep them on, and urged passengers to respect each other’s choices.
“We know some passengers may feel vulnerable, and we are encouraging colleagues to be respectful and put on a face covering when near a passenger who requests it,” the airport operator said.