Share article:
Share article:

Ombudsman urges PM to make face masks mandatory in airports

© Belga/ERIC LALMAND

Belgium’s National Security Council (NSC) must clearly state that the use of face masks is obligatory in all Belgian airports, the federal ombudsman for aviation said.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès ahead of an NSC meeting, Federal Aviation Ombudsman Philippe Touwaide urged leaders to provide clarity on the rules to avoid airports deferring responsibility to commercial airlines.

“I would like to advise you (…) to make wearing a face mask mandatory in all Belgian airports in the NSC meeting of Wednesday, 6 May,” Touwaide wrote, RTBF reports. “This is obvious and logical measure will help to limit the spread of the virus.”

In his letter, Touwaide takes aim at comments made by the CEO of Brussels Airport, Arnaud Feist, that the airport was not responsible for passengers’ use of face masks.

Related News:

 

“His defence is based on the fact that he does not manage transportation and that ‘his’ airport is not organized by a government agency. It is up to the airlines to impose, distribute and pay for face masks and not to him,” Touwaide wrote.

But Touwaide argues that the busiest airport in Belgium is in fact managed by the General Directorate of Aerial Transportation of the federal public transport services (FPS Transport and Mobility).

The rules issued by the NSC following a meeting on 30 April make it clear, according to the ombudsman, that Brussels Airport should enforce the use of face masks.

The NSC’s conclusions, published in a ministerial decree state that “all citizens over the age of 12 are required to cover their nose and mouth (…) upon entrance to (…) any means of transport organised by a public authority.”

Days after the decree was published, Charleroi Airport said it would make the use of face masks mandatory in its airport.

Agreeing with the airport’s CEO, the cabinet of the federal mobility minister, François Bellot, has reportedly said that airports should not be viewed as public transport and that such matters fall outside the remit of the ombudsman, according to Bruzz.

In his letter, Touwaide also pointed out that Brussels Airport was not currently enforcing any screening for arriving passengers, who he said were advised to quarantine for a fortnight but that no temperature or identity details were being collected by the airport.

“This measure is not effective, because once the passenger comes home there is no more control,” Touwaide wrote.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...
Pandora Papers: European Parliament describes UK and US as global hubs for money laundering and tax evasion
The European Parliament adopted on Thursday a resolution taking the European Commission to task for not doing enough to combat money laundering, tax ...
Museum Night Fever returns to Brussels on Saturday night
After a break last year, Museum Night Fever 2021 is back again with free visits to 29 museums hosting performances, music and other events. The ...