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Safety first when flights resume: Austrian Airlines Introduces Face Mask Requirement on all Flights


• Physical distancing measures implemented along the entire travel chain
• Austria’s national carrier recommends contactless check-in and boarding
• CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech: “Safety is the top priority. A balance will be achieved between safety and service.”

Following a break of about 90 days, Austrian Airlines resumed scheduled flight operations today with its initial flight to Munich departing from Vienna at 6:30 a.m. In addition to restarting flights, Austria’s red-white-red carrier also presented measures designed to protect the health of passengers and employees. There is one underlying message in this regard: physical distancing wherever possible, and protective face masks have to be worn on board all flights, effective immediately.

The obligation to wear face basks is also part of the General Conditions of Carriage
The requirement to wear face masks as imposed by Austrian Airlines applies on all flights and in direct contact with Austrian Airlines employees, also on the ground. All passengers are requested to bring their own face-nose protective masks. Children under the age of six are exempted from the mask requirement. This has also been specified in the General Conditions of Carriage. Vienna Airport has also imposed the requirement on passengers to wear face masks in all terminals. In general, all passengers are recommended to wear protective masks during the entire journey – from the way to the airport to the arrival at the destination – and to continually keep a minimum distance from other people.

Vienna Airport has already installed appropriate distance markings and signs for this purpose. Plexiglas panels ("sneeze guards") have been mounted on the counters and disinfectant dispensers have been installed. In addition, passengers are regularly notified via announcements about the necessity to maintain a minimum physical distance of at least one meter. Julian Jäger, member of the Executive Board of Vienna Airport, commented: "I am pleased that Austrian Airlines is starting scheduled flights again, and that we will be able to concentrate on flight operations together again. Together we already took numerous measures to ensure the safety of our passengers and employees. In doing so, we are also complying with the safety recommendations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is already working on the development of international standards and is thus a pioneer in Europe. We play an active role in this area, and Vienna Airport has recently become an EASA test airport".

Contactless check-in and boarding options should be used
Austrian Airlines advises all passengers to already check in online from their homes. Anyone desiring to check in baggage can also do so without physical contact to others by using the “self- baggage drop-off devices” at Vienna Airport. Passengers will continue to be allowed to take hand luggage with them on board flights of the red-white-red national airline. However, passengers who do not really need their hand baggage with them on board should increasingly take advantage of the baggage check-in option. This is possible free of charge and will also accelerate the boarding process. Contactless boarding is also possible using the quick boarding gates. For this purpose, passengers only have to scan their boarding passes. Austrian Airlines will rely on boarding in small groups in the future to ensure adherence to physical distancing rules. If buses are used to board the aircraft, the number of passengers transported on each bus will be significantly reduced.

Filters and air purification
Each passenger will be given a disinfectant wipe when boarding the aircraft. The passengers will be seated throughout the aircraft with the greatest possible distance if capacity utilization allows for this. Moreover, so-called “HEPA filters” (high efficiency particle absorbers) are used on board the flights. These devices remove 99.9 percent of all viruses, bacteria and particles from the air. The exchange of air takes place every three minutes, in which case the air consists of 60 percent fresh air and 40 percent recirculated air purified by the HEPA filters. The flow pattern of the air only takes place vertically, which means there is no dissemination of the air among the individual rows of seats.

“Safety is the top priority at Austrian Airlines at all times, and includes health protection. For this reason, we have developed a protection concept in cooperation with Vienna Airport and medical experts, which covers the entire travel chain. I am convinced that this will enable us to achieve an ideal balance between safety and service”, explains Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.

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