French flag-carrier Air France on Monday announced that masks would be compulsory on its flights from next week as France emerges from its lockdown to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
May 11 will see the first easing of the lockdown in France but the government has made clear people will have to wear masks on public transport.
“In line with French instructions making the wearing of a mask compulsory on public transport, Air France will ask its customers to wear a mask throughout their journey as from 11 May 2020,” it said in a statement.
Passengers would have to provide their own masks, the airline said, adding they would be notified prior to flights “to ensure they possess one or more masks for their trip.”
The airline said it would implement “physical distancing” on board where possible and “the current low load factors” currently ease this process.
“In cases where this is not possible, requiring all passengers and crew to wear masks ensures adequate health protection,” it added.
The airline industry is facing an unprecedented crisis as the pandemic causes a decline in global travel that may take years to reverse.
To ensure the survival of Air France, the government is giving it a seven billion euro loan package — four billion euros in bank loans largely guaranteed by the state, and three billion euros in direct state loans.
In return, the airline has committed to improving its profitability and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The EU Commission approved the loans on Monday.