14 Dec, 2022 @ 18:00
1 min read

Spanish travel sector slams government for maintaining mask requirement on flights

Masks are made mandatory in Spain's Valencia region: This is where you must cover your face from TODAY amid spike in Covid and flu cases
Imagen de Christo Anestev en Pixabay

REPRESENTATIVES from Spain’s travel industry have railed against the government for keeping in place the obligatory use of masks on public transport, including on planes. Leaders from the sector claim that the measure is damaging companies as well as the country’s reputation as a travel destination. 

Spain is now the only country in Europe and one of the few in the world where face coverings are still required on flights, despite the flu virus currently causing more hospitalisations in the country than Covid-19. 

‘Their use should be voluntary,’ said Carlos Garrido, from the CEAV travel agency association. 

Health Minister Carolina Darias once again ruled out lifting the obligation to wear masks on Friday, basing her decision on ‘experts’ who her ministry has not identified, according to Spanish daily El Pais

Spain’s Association of Airlines said that it was ‘inexplicable’ for Spain to maintain the need to use masks. 

Its president, Javier Gándara, pointed out that passengers on Spanish airlines must wear the coverings at all times when flying to or from an airport in Spain, but only need to wear them when over Spanish airspace if flying with a foreign airline.

‘You get the situation where, on a 12-hour flight, 11 of those are without a mask and the last is with, and they expect that this will reduce the possibility of contagion,’ he said. 

‘If a customer wants to fly to the United States and can choose between an airline where they don’t have to wear a mask or a Spanish one, where they are obligatory, they will pick the first option,’ Garrido said. 

Currently in Spain, masks must still be worn on public transport, in healthcare settings and in pharmacies.

Read more:

Covid-19 pandemic triggers big rise in stressed-out workers taking drugs in Spain

Spain’s government changes inaccurate mask wearing announcement for air travel

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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