Coronavirus has divided a lot into "before" and "after". This also affected the field of air travel, where before the Covid-19, you could buy tickets for the next flight in two clicks, and after that you only have to cross your fingers in the hope of an early resumption of flights.
Now the world is still uncertain, but it is still starting to quit hard quarantine. Some countries even declared their readiness to open their air borders for tourists in the near future. When will it be and how it will happen in Ukraine?
Plans of Ukraine
The Ministry of Infrastructure on May 14 presented a three-stage plan for the restoration of regular passenger traffic in the country.
According to it, the resumption of domestic flights is planned at the first stage, and international flights - at the third.
It would seem, everything is understandable, but the specific dates of these stages are not spelled out anywhere, and the transport launch plan itself still needs to be agreed with the Ministry of Health.
As Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Krykliy noted on May 15, Ukraine will launch air transportation to those countries that will be ready to receive its citizens.
According to him, European countries will open borders from the end of May, and the opening of Ukrainian borders will be mirrored. At the same time, there is no exact date in the ministry.
A similar opinion was expressed by the chief sanitary doctor Viktor Lyashko, saying in an interview with Ukrainian Radio that the issue of opening international air links with European countries will be resolved when they open their borders.
At the same time, according to Lyashko, domestic air traffic will resume along with public transport. This will happen according to the adaptive quarantine rules - if in both regions/cities the situation with the spread of coronavirus is taken under control.
“It will not be possible to restore, for example, the traffic between Khmelnytsky and Chernivtsi if Chernivtsi does not meet the criteria specified in the Cabinet’s decree on a successful epidemiological situation,” said the chief medical doctor.
If we talk about the plans of airlines, then Czech Airlines, Wizz Air, and Lufthansa announced their intention to resume international flights from Ukraine in late May-early June.
The Ministry of Infrastructure reacted to this, noting that the airlines, which opened the booking of flights from May 23, mislead people.
UIA on the eve closed the sale of tickets for all international flights until July 1 of this year.
Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba believes that there will be no full-fledged restoration of international air traffic during the summer.
Air traffic: Situation with neighbors
In Poland, where the total number of people infected with coronavirus exceeded 18 thousand, the ban on domestic and international flights was extended until May 23 inclusive.
The corresponding ban, which does not apply to cargo aircraft, charters and evacuation flights, was introduced in the country on May 15, after which it was repeatedly extended.
A number of airlines, including Air France and Lufthansa, wanted to resume regular flights from Warsaw, however, due to the extension of the ban, they were forced to change their plans.
The national carrier LOT Polish Airlines on its website said that it canceled all flights until May 31.
Romania decided not to extend the emergency regime, and from May 15 it was replaced by the "alarm mode", which is milder than the emergency.
However, relaxation of restrictions did not concern the restoration of flights from Romania (and vice versa) to countries heavily affected by the coronavirus.
In particular, flights with Austria, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, the USA, Turkey and Iran are still suspended.
Neighboring Moldova extended the restrictive measures until June 30, thus retaining the ban on international flights.
The country completely suspended the implementation of overseas flights on March 17. Currently, the number of Covid-19 infected in Moldova exceeds 6 thousand, more than 200 people have died.
The Ferenc Liszt International Airport in Budapest (Hungary) resumed operations in early May, but with strict observance of quarantine rules.
In the country there are now more than 3.5 thousand cases of coronavirus, 462 people have died.
Russia, which ceased international flights on March 27, may resume it in the summer. This, according to the Minister of Transport Evgeniy Dietrich, will depend on the epidemiological situation in the host countries.
“In June we’ll start domestic lines, at points located on the territory of the country. If it turns out, if we get permission from the government, we would certainly like to open international lines this summer season ... Therefore, we will try to make such a decision possible," RIA Novosti quoted the minister
Belarus, where according to the World Health Organization, one of the highest rates of spread of Covid-19 in Europe is observed, did not close its borders.
According to President Alexander Lukashenko, the situation in the country with the incidence is mild, despite the fact that the government did not impose any quarantine restrictions.
Moreover, the Belarusian leader claims that after the military parade in Minsk on May 9 in the capital, the number of people with pneumonia fell by half.
In the country today nearly 30 thousand people got coronavirus, more than 160 have died.
Summer vacation: on the balcony or abroad?
Countries which economies are highly dependent on foreign tourists are looking for ways to save the summer season.
Let's start with Spain. Initially, the local press reported that this summer the country's resorts will be closed to tourists.
Nevertheless, the Minister of Transport Jose Luis Abalos said that Spain seeks to open borders for tourists around the end of June after the country will be lifted quarantine restrictions in connection with coronavirus.
Last week, Madrid introduced a two-week quarantine for all travelers and actually kept the borders closed, saying that this was necessary in order to avoid a second wave of infection.
But this step was to be temporary, and the Minister of Transport announced that it would be stopped in parallel with the permission to travel within Spain, which regions relax restrictions at different stages.
“As soon as we, the Spaniards, can travel to other provinces, foreigners will be able to come to Spain. I hope that from the end of June we will begin tourist activities ...”, said Jose Luis Abalos.
From June 3, Italy opens its borders to tourists from the countries of the European Union, the Schengen area, including Switzerland and Monaco. For them, two-week self-isolation after entering the country will not be mandatory.
External European borders will remain closed until at least June 15th. The European Commission will decide to cancel or extend the lockdown in the middle of next month.
It is known for certain that Italy is developing a program to stimulate domestic tourism, which, among other things, will include partial compensation for vacation costs.
Montenegro plans to open the tourist season from July 1. According to Prime Minister Dushko Markovic, to begin with, the country expects to receive comers from neighboring Serbia and Bosnia.
In Montenegro, the number of people infected with coronavirus is only 324; two weeks ago, quarantine began to be mitigated in the country.
Greece is also going to take vacationers from July 1, writes Ekathimerini. In a detailed plan for a careful reload of the country's tourism sector against the backdrop of a pandemic, strict rules are set for restaurants, beaches, hotels and other tourist accommodation, as well as transport.
In particular, common areas will be regularly disinfected, and in the dining rooms and around the pools people will have to keep a safe distance.
The option of accepting only those tourists who have passed the Covid-19 test and received a negative result is being considered. Also, upon arrival in the country, everyone will be measured temperature.
If tourists have symptoms of the disease during the holidays, they plan to move them to quarantine facilities.
Cyprus airports plan to resume operations from June 9, according to Xinhua. From this day, seaports will also open, it will be allowed to receive cruise ships.
Catering establishments will be opened for tourists: customers will be allowed to sit both indoors and outdoors.
From May 28, Turkey intends to restore domestic tourism, and from mid-June - after the resumption of international flights – external tourism.
“If nothing special happens, the start of the tourist season will begin with domestic tourist traffic on May 28. We believe that the direction of international tourism will start after mid-June,” said Minister of Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Ukrinform reports.
According to him, all necessary measures will be taken for the safety of tourists in a pandemic.
The minister suggested that China and South Korea will be the first countries with which air communication will be restored and from where the first foreign tourists will come to Turkey.