Aeroflot will allocate special seating for passengers who refuse to wear face masks on flights, a spokeswoman for Russia’s flagship carrier said Tuesday.
The changes came after the airline warned that it would deny boarding to maskless passengers as part of its tighter coronavirus control measures.
“Dedicated seats are provided for passengers who refuse to use masks after the doors are closed,” Interfax quoted Aeroflot spokeswoman Yulia Spivakova as telling reporters.
Spivakova warned that Aeroflot could kick off passengers unwilling to follow health guidelines, calling it a “common global practice and a necessary measure.”
According to an alleged Aeroflot document shared by the Baza Telegram channel, the maskless seats will be allocated on the last two rows on the right-hand side of economy cabins.
Aeroflot requires all passengers, including those with medical exemptions, to fully cover their mouth and nose with a medical mask throughout the entire flight.
Passengers are told to replace their masks every three hours or after every meal.
Russia grounded all international flights in late March as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country. Special evacuation flights and government-authorized family reunification, medical treatment, qualified-specialist and diplomatic flights have continued to operate.
In recent months, Russia has gradually resumed flights with a dozen countries it deemed safe for travel, including Britain, Turkey, the UAE and Switzerland.
Russia reinstated a nationwide mask mandate this fall amid its record-setting second wave of the pandemic. Since the start of the outbreak, 2.7 million Russians have been infected and 48,000 have died from the virus, according to official data.