Trudeau says airplane mask mandates remain in place as U.S. carriers drop rule

Trudeau says airplane mask mandates remain in place as U.S. carriers drop rule

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says mask mandates for air travel remain firmly in place, even as major airlines south of the border drop the requirement for passengers and crews.

“When we have announcements to make, we will make them. But they will always be grounded in science,” Trudeau told reporters in Dalhousie, N.B.

On Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down a national mask mandate on planes and mass transit, prompting all seven of America’s largest airlines to repeal rules that customers and staff wear face coverings, effective immediately.

Some specified that masks remain mandatory for certain international flights or locations, depending on local protocols.

Trudeau and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra reiterated separately on Tuesday that masks are still required on all flights that arrive in or depart from Canada.

Canadian airlines also confirmed their mask requirements remain in place, though WestJet said the change down south “highlights the need for harmonization and consistency of these mandates across borders to eliminate confusion” for customers.

Air Canada said that while mask rules are still in force, measures abroad are being “safely lifted” for a range of activities and that Canadian policies should align with other fields and jurisdictions.

“Policies should be consistent with other activities and jurisdictions to make it easier for customers and to facilitate compliance,” the airline said in a statement.

Several U.S. carriers including United Airlines and Alaska Airlines told The Canadian Press that travellers will have to mask up for the duration of all flights to and from Canada — and other jurisdictions with on-board mask mandates — rather than donning the coverings only upon entering Canadian airspace.