Four Scandinavian airlines scrap mask rule on regional flights

The move follows domestic Covid-19 restrictions being eased across Scandinavia

Lucy Thackray
Monday 18 October 2021 11:09 BST
<p>Scandinavian Airlines planes at Arlanda Airport, Sweden.</p>

Scandinavian Airlines planes at Arlanda Airport, Sweden.

From today, four Scandinavian airlines will no longer require passengers to wear a mask while flying around the region.

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines), Norwegian, Wideroe and Fly are all lifting their mask mandate for flights within and between Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

However, masks must still be worn on flights going from those countries to countries outside the region, or vice versa.

An statement was added to SAS’s website on Friday, saying “Due to the opening of societies and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia, SAS is, from 18 October 2021, removing the requirement for mandatory use of face masks on flights within Scandinavia.”

“We believe the time is right now based on the infection situation in the country,” SAS press manager John Eckhoff told Norway’s TV2.

“The Norwegian infection control guide no longer requires domestic passengers to wear face masks, so this requirement will no longer apply on board Wideroe’s flights,” a Wideroe airline’s spokeswoman Silje Brandvoll told Norwegian Radio.

“We’re back - now also without a face mask!” Norwegian tweeted in the local language on Thursday.

The move comes after all three countries removed most of their on the ground Covid-19 rules and restrictions.

Each country has reported success with their vaccine rollout and low cases and hospitalisation rates mean life has largely returned to normal.

Although masks won’t be required in-flight within the three countries, many airports in the region - such as Stockholm’s Arlanda and Copenhagen’s Kastrup - do still have a mask rule in place.

“It is important to point out that those who still want to wear a face mask, either because they are worried about infection or want to be courteous to others, are of course very welcome to do so,” said Norwegian’s communications director, Esben Tuman.

Sweden eased most of its domestic Covid-related restrictions at the end of September, with Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren saying: “The important message is that we now take further steps in the return to normal everyday life.

“Our view has all the time been that restrictions should be lifted as soon as possible.”

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced a three-phase plan for ending restrictions in September, saying: “Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”

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