US-based carrier United Airlines has extended its face mask requirements to all airports amid the worsening Covid-19 crisis in several countries.

Under the updated requirement, all passengers travelling on and after 24 July are required to wear a face covering in the more than 360 global airports where the airline operates.

The mandate encompasses United customer service counters and kiosks, United Club locations, United’s gates and baggage claim areas.

In a statement, United Airlines added that violators will not be allowed to board and may be banned from flying with the airline, at least until the new directive is in place.

However, the policy excludes children under the age of two years. Passengers may contact the airline or airport representative if they believe they qualify for an exemption.

United CEO Scott Kirby said: “The most important thing any of us can do to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to simply wear a mask when we’re around other people.

“A mask is about protecting the safety of others, and I’m proud of the aggressive and proactive steps United Airlines has taken to ensure people are wearing a face covering in the airports where we operate and onboard the aircraft we fly.”

As part of the move, United will deploy signage throughout the airport to remind the passengers about the new policy. Customers who are not wearing a mask will be offered a free one to cover their faces.

In early May, the airline issued a directive that required flight attendants to wear a face covering. Subsequently, United extended that policy to all customers.