Faced with a 70 percent reduction in air traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission is planning to financially support loss-making airports in danger of closing and wants to implement unified testing requirements for passengers, EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean told news portal hotnews.ro in an interview.
“In the entire transportation sector, but especially in the aviation sector, the losses are enormous. We have made economic measures available for member states to help airports and airlines during this period. However, the figures are dramatic,” Vălean said.
“There are 70 percent fewer flights now than in the same period of last year, which could lead to the closure of airports that can no longer be supported economically, which is why today we recommend member states to ensure minimum connectivity at the European level to help the airports to keep the routes open. This is necessary for those who have to travel even in crisis conditions,” she added.
The European Commissioner also spoke about a standardization of procedures at airports, given that at the moment the practices vary from one country to the next.
“What interests us in the future is to develop a test protocol for travel. That is, citizens should know very clearly that when they have to travel from one country to another what test protocol they have available, which should include how many days before they have to do the test and how many days later they have to repeat a test after they arrive at their destination, which will help them avoid quarantining for too long. Also, what kind of test is required so that the result comes as quickly as possible. We must apply this uniformly at the EU level so that people will know what to expect and will again be encouraged to buy a plane ticket and try to travel,” Vălean added.
She added that airports also must be kept operational as many expatriates across the European Union can visit their families during the Christmas holidays.
Regarding road travel, the European Commission also wants to establish a unified network of transit corridors in member states, allowing for car travel without infecting the population of those along the travelers’ transit route.
Title image:Disinfection at the Budapest airport. (MTI/Zoltán Balogh).