A European recommendation to wear facemasks for air travel is being scrapped.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) say the decision will take effect from May 16th.
In a joint statement, they say: "The update of the joint Aviation Health Safety Protocol takes account of the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries."
However airlines can still impose their own rules in relation to masks.
For example, flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required on public transport would likely continue to encourage it.
And vulnerable passengers are advised to continue wearing facemasks, regardless of the rules.
Passengers are also being encouraged to observe distancing measures in indoor areas, including at the airport, wherever possible.
While airport operators have been advised to adopt "a pragmatic approach", and avoid distancing requirements that will likely lead to a bottlenecks.
EASA executive director Patrick Ky says: "It is a relief to all of us that we are finally reaching a stage in the pandemic where we can start to relax the health safety measures.
"For many passengers, and also aircrew members, there is a strong desire for masks to no longer be a mandatory part of air travel.
"We are now at the start of that process.
"Passengers should continue to comply with the requirements of their airline and, where preventive measures are optional, make responsible decisions and respect the choice of other passengers."
He adds: "In particular, a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby."
And it says while many states no longer require Passenger Locator Forms, airlines should keep their data collection systems on standby "so they could make this information available to public health authorities if needed".
It says this could happen where a potentially more dangerous new variant of concern emerges.