Passengers are encouraged to include face masks as part of their purchasing plans when planning the trip.

Photograph: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Finnish airport operator Finavia will now require all passengers and other visitors to its airports to wear a face mask for the entire visit.

While Finavia began recommending the use of face masks already five months ago, the company’s new stricter Covid-19 guidelines are aimed at protecting passengers and airport staff while also calling attention to as safe travel as possible. (People with health problems are not required to wear masks, and also children under seven are excluded.)

Finavia CEO Kimmo Mäki is concerned that the strict travel restrictions introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have practically halted air traffic and the international connections that are vital to the Finnish business sector.

“Finland is an island. Our country needs good flight connections to promote trade relations and export. Our prosperity and competitiveness are entirely dependent on foreign trade, and the demand for domestic travel is not able to replace the commercial revenues earned from international tourism. Without flight connections, we are in trouble,” Mäki said in a statement.

Mäki encourages passengers to include mask buying as part of their travel plans. Masks are sold at many shops and kiosks at the airport.

In addition, Finavia started intensified cleaning, disinfecting and Covid-19 communications already in January and has actively introduced new measures throughout the year.

A pilot project launched at Helsinki Airport in August aims to enhance the cleaning of security trays by using UVC technology.

The technology involves using lamps that emit continuous ultraviolet light, which can kill viruses and bacteria. “The results have been encouraging, and we have also obtained these devices for the security control points at Rovaniemi Airport and Oulu Airport,” Mäki said.