Alan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas, wants the Australian government to go even farther and make face masks optional on domestic flights in addition to the foreign flights where they were previously required.
As of right now, only foreign flights departing from Western Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales will no longer be required to wear face masks while in flight.
Since the Victoria state government hasn’t yet given the go-ahead, the rule change won’t apply to any foreign flights from Melbourne. Instead, it will apply to direct flights to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Rome.
All flights to Australia will continue to require masks because the inflight mask mandate is still in effect, and major destinations like Singapore will also have mandatory masking zones.
Qantas has advised travelers to research government restrictions before heading to the airport due to the possibility of confusion. Passengers who fail to bring a mask to the airport will still be able to acquire free masks.
In an internal memo, the airline told staff that the policy shift was “an important step in our transition to living with Covid, and we welcome this change”.
As a result of numerous studies finding that there is “very low risk” of virus transmission during flight, Joyce has proposed that face mask regulations should be relaxed for domestic flights.
However, the airline did state that they “respect and understand” that some customers and employees will still wear face masks.
Last week, Australia’s dropped its airport mask mandate after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee concluded that it was “no longer proportionate to mandate mask use in airport terminals” when masks weren’t required in nearly any other public indoor setting.
Even if wearing a face mask is not required, the AHPCC advised travelers to do so.