Malaysian-based airlines such as AirAsia Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and Maswings, have dropped the face mask requirement following a recent announcement by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced yesterday that the wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory for flights with immediate effect.
According to statements released by AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines, the relaxation of face mask mandates on their aircraft follows the latest guidelines by the MOH. To minimise the risk of infection, both airlines said their current protective measures include the use of High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter and a cabin air circulation system that refreshes the cabin air 20-30 times per hour to ensure the highest possible quality of air throughout the flight.
Guests who wish to wear a face mask on board are still allowed to do so. Malaysia Airlines has also indicated that face masks are required on flights where it is compulsory in destination countries.
Masks are now optional on airplanes with immediate effect. Thank you @MAS CEO Capt Izham for the discussion earlier and reassurances of air quality & cleanliness on airplanes. https://t.co/PAV57VLSNC pic.twitter.com/9K0DPHJILN— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) September 28, 2022
Under the latest health protocols, face masks are optional indoors but it is still recommended for high-risk individuals (senior citizens, people with chronic diseases, low immunity and pregnant women) as well as individuals who are having symptoms such as fever, cough and flu. Wearing face masks is also encouraged for individuals travelling with high-risk individuals such as senior citizens and children.
Khairy said that the relaxation of face mask rules is in line with health recommendations in other countries including the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. He also added that the face mask mandates on aircraft are also subject to health guidelines set by the destination country. The decision was made taking into consideration technological improvements in aircraft to reduce the risk of infection as well as the current COVID-19 situation in Malaysia which is said to be under control.
Malaysia lifted its indoor face mask mandate on 7th September but it appears that most Malaysians are still wearing them to be on the safe side. Despite being optional, face masks are still required at healthcare facilities, on public transport, and crowded and poorly ventilated areas.