Corona targets in the plane: how long yet?

Exactly two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, the international aviation sector is addressing the EU Ministers of Transport and Public Health: rules must be released.

No more mouthpiece or coronapas

The Association of Airports (ACI Europe) and the Association of Airlines (IATA) want:

  • Lift the corona travel restrictions up to the summer season, at least for flights within Europe. So no more corona passes, no more tests and no more source and contact research.
  • Equate the rules for using mouth masks with the rules in a country. So if there is no longer oral duty in the Netherlands, then no longer on the plane
  • Allow passengers outside Europe who have been vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine to travel under the same conditions as persons who have been vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine.

A corona passport is still required to fly within the EU and the Schengen countries. All passengers aged 12 and over must present a vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or test certificate. And a mouthpiece is mandatory. Stricter rules apply for flights outside Europe: you must still pass a negative test there.

Built-up immunity

IATA Vice President Rafael Schvartzman said it was time for people to travel freely again. “The accumulated immunity to corona is so great that the risks have dropped sharply. Covid-19 is endemic.”

Transavia: rules lead to fraud

A spokesman for Transavia says in a response to support the call to stop the corona rules in aircraft. “We now see that the aggression on board has increased markedly due to the corona measures, especially by wearing the mouth caps. There are fears that this measure will lead to non-compliance and more aggression.”

According to the airline, discussions are underway with the relevant ministries to reduce the mask requirement on board ‘for a recommendation’. “Passengers then have a choice as to whether or not they will wear a mask, and this will certainly lead to a sharp drop in the number of reports of dishonesty on board.”

According to Marco van Leeuwen, a lecturer in the travel industry at Breda University of Applied Sciences, the entire aviation sector has been hit hard by the measures over the past two years. “And there’s a huge desire to catch up among people. We all want to be together again.”

Yet many people – as long as the measures are in place – do not love to fly. “If the measures are removed, bookings will increase immediately.”

Quarantine rules

The aviation sector has a strong interest in repealing the corona measures, says Van Leeuwen. But the question is how fast that will happen. Because you also have to comply with quarantine rules. “You can relax on the outgoing side, but you still have restrictions on the intercontinental side. You depend on what national governments do.”

Next week, the government wants to decide to abolish the last corona rules from Wednesday, March 23rd. For example, you no longer need to wear a mouth cap in public transportation. But the face mask still has to be worn on the planes.

It seems that vaccinated travelers coming to the Netherlands no longer need to take a PCR test. Unvaccinated people still do, but it has to do with European rules for travelers, just like the face masks on airplanes.

Extend the corona pass

The European Commission has just proposed to keep the corona passport until mid-2023. A majority has voted in favor of this. Health Minister Kuipers wants to argue for the abolition of the corona travel card for young people under 18 years of age.

If it does not work in a European context, it is up to the individual countries whether they will move forward with such a relaxation or not, Kuipers emphasized. “We are not talking about the Covid rules in other EU countries.”

The situation may change

Kuipers will also get rid of the mandatory corona travel passport for people aged 18 and over. “If the Covid situation remains as favorable as it is now, I will work for it as well.”

However, the Minister wants to extend the corona travel passport until 1 July 2023, as the European Commission wants. Because then the passport can be used quickly if the situation requires it.

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