SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) will no longer require flyers to wear masks on flights to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, according to reports.
"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," Business Insider reports.
The flag carrier of the three Nordic nations is the largest global carrier to scrap the pandemic-era health safety policy for all passengers. Airlines around the world adopted the measure in the early months of the pandemic to stop the onboard spread of COVID-19.
Qatar Airways experimented with allowing business class passengers to only wear face masks at their discretion, as Insider reported in July 2020, but now requires all passengers to wear a face mask.
Travelers on SAS flights not within Scandinavia, however, will still have to wear masks as the airline says it will follow European Union Aviation Safety Agency recommendations for face masks on non-intra-Scandinavian flights.
"However, SAS will be following recommendations from EASA regarding mandatory use of face masks on other SAS flights, operating outside Denmark, Norway, and Sweden," the airline also said.
Sweden's no-lockdown approach to COVID-19 was widely criticized but the country's chief epidemiologist has hailed the approach as a success with lower excess mortality rates than some other European countries that chose lockdowns, as Insider's Dr. Marianne Guenot reported.