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Australia drops face mask mandate on inbound international flights

You'll no longer need to wear a face mask when flying to Australia on an international flight from 9th September, unless your airline requires it.

Australia recently announced that it was removing its face mask requirement on domestic flights from 9th September 2022, but peculiarly the federal government was apparently maintaining its policy for all passengers to wear a mask on inbound international flights, which was a strange inconsistency.

That’s been resolved today with the announcement that this edict too will be dropped, also (and quite logically) effective from 9th September 2022.

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For Singapore Airlines, this will mean over 110 weekly services from Changi to Australia, which currently require masks to be worn by all passengers, will become mask-optional.

This will mean over 50% of all Singapore Airlines passenger flights across the network will have no mask-wearing requirement by tomorrow, up from 40% when the carrier’s mask mandate was first replaced with a ‘destination-specific’ requirement.

Masks no longer required on international flights to Australia

Australia already allows passengers flying out of the country to follow either the airline’s mask-wearing requirements, or those of the country they are travelling to or through, whichever is stricter.

That means in many cases, including for Singapore Airlines services, masks are not required when departing from the country on an international flight.

For flights departing on or after 0.01am Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Friday 9th September 2022, which is 10.01pm Singapore Time on Thursday 8th September 2022, the rules will be relaxed.

“Flights travelling to Australia which depart on or after 12.01 am on Friday 9 September 2022 (AEST) will no longer be subject to a mask mandate. Travellers continue to be encouraged to consider wearing a mask to reduce their personal risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Travellers are advised that the mask requirements of the airline or cruise vessel you are travelling with, or country you are travelling through may vary.”

Australian Government

This will combine nicely with the relaxation of mask-wearing on domestic Australian flights, also effective today, and the removal of any mask mandate at Australian airports, which took effect back in June this year.

Singapore Airlines Australia flights

Singapore Airlines has yet to update its mask-wearing policy, but the news should mean that from tonight with the departure of SQ237 to Melbourne at 0.25am on 9th September 2022, and on all Aussie-bound services thereafter, the carrier’s flights will become mask-optional.

Update: SIA has now updated its mask policy and, as expected, the carrier’s Australia flights are now all mask-optional in both directions.

Passengers flying to Australia on international flights can ditch their mask if they choose, from 9th September. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

SIA recently relaxed its mask mandate, applying the rule only based on the requirements of the destination country, which meant around 40% of its passenger flights no longer imposed mandatory mask wearing from late August, though cabin crew are still required to wear masks on all services.

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Here’s how SIA’s mask requirements now look from 9th September 2022, with Australia’s recent relaxation.

Masks required

Masks optional

Singapore Airlines Flights
to/from Singapore
(updated 8 Sep 2022)

Country Mask Requirement

Flying from Singapore

Flying to Singapore
Europe    
Denmark
France
Germany
Italy
Spain
Netherlands
Switzerland
UK
North America    
Canada
USA*
North Asia    
China
Hong Kong
Japan
South Korea
Taiwan
South East Asia    
Brunei
Cambodia
Indonesia Since 1 Sep
Malaysia
Myanmar
Philippines
Thailand
Vietnam
South West Pacific    
Australia From 9 Sep
New Zealand
West Asia & Africa    
Bangladesh
India
Maldives
Nepal
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Turkey
UAE

* Except SQ25/26, which requires masks

As you can see from the list, Australia follows the USA, UK and most EU countries in removing mask restrictions on board flights, which took effect in those jurisdictions earlier this year.

That means from tomorrow SIA flights to the following destinations will become mask-optional:

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Darwin
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney

This latest change affects over 110 of the airline’s flights per week.

It means just over 50% of SIA passenger flights will be mask-optional by tomorrow, up from 43% now.

This follows a relaxation of outbound mask-wearing requirements from Indonesia, announced last week and applicable to the carrier’s flights departing from Bali, Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya.

The latest relaxation should also apply to other international carriers flying to Australia that don’t impose their own mask-wearing mandate, like Scoot, British Airways and Qantas.

However, do note that several airlines flying to Australia, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Malaysia Airlines, still enforce mask-wearing on board all their flights, regardless of the origin or destination regulations.

Germany is also