EU to continue social distancing and respiratory hygiene during air travel

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EU updated  air travel directive
Photo by Phil Mosley on Unsplash

A new version of the Aviation Health Safety Protocol emphasizes that all air travel passengers should continue to follow the COVID-19 measures such as hygiene, social distancing, and wearing of medical face masks during air travel.

The Advisory issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) comes on the heels of previous initiatives such as EU Digital COVID certificates and other information related to the COVID-19 prevention and vaccination programs.

The purpose of the updated safety protocol is to provide more clear guidance to national authorities in the member states and to air travelers within the EU in regards to the latest data of the epidemiological situation.

Travel requirements 

The new advisory proposes that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who recovered from the disease in the last 180 days should not be subject to testing or quarantine, unless they are coming from countries on the “red list” such as India, Pakistan, and United Arab Emirates among others.

For travel from the red-listed destinations, the requirement for a negative test could still be considered. This could be either a Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) taken no more than 48 hours before arrival or a PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at the EU destination. Hand sanitizing and respiratory hygiene measures also need to be observed during air travel.

The protocol states the relaxation of measures should result in less bottlenecks and long lines at the airports and checking of vaccination proof or detection tests should be checked once per travel and ideally at the airport of departure.

Air travel in the EU has increased dramatically in the recent weeks and is expected to grow exponentially during the summer months after more than a year of lockdowns and air travel restrictions.

Even though the suggested recommendations are not mandatory for the member states the implementation of the safety protocol is critical for the safe recovery of the dwindling tourism and the reduced air transport.

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Ian Powers is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. Ian has over 20 years of aviation travel experience.

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