Qantas and low cost subsidiary Jetstar will now make the wearing of masks mandatory on all flights to and from Melbourne.
While it only targets Melbourne flights at the moment, it may be expanded to other routes if there is an increase in Covid-19 cases elsewhere.
Qantas Group medical director Ian Hosegood said the new requirement follows rules implemented in in the Victorian capital.
The airlines haven’t made masks compulsory on all flights, even though they are not blocking middle seats.
It cites a ‘resistance’ to wearing them in-flight.
“Our approach to masks is that we strongly recommend that passenger wear them, but where there is no active cases in the community and flights are travelling between those locations, it’s very difficult to take a position that mandates masks when we have a lot of resistance to that,” Hosegood said.
Flight Attendants’ Association of Australia secretary Teri O’Toole wants the government to make masks mandatory for all flights.
Regional Express (Rex) is the only Australian airline that has made masks compulsory while Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have only issued recommendations that they are worn.
by Ray Montgomery, Asia Pacific editor