Ryanair on Friday called on EU governments to adopt without delay the EU ‘traffic light systems’ that rates how safe each country is as regards coronavirus cases, arguing that according to the latest update, 15 countries are without travel restrictions.
The EU proposal provides for common criteria on epidemiological risks, a shared ‘colour-coding’ of risk areas, as well as a joint approach on returning from high-risk areas.
At the moment, each country has its own risk assessment lists.
“Europe’s aviation and tourism industries cannot suffer any delay to the adoption of this new system, as millions of jobs are at risk as Europe moves into a very difficult winter season,” the airline said on Friday.
This common EU framework will help restore confidence in air travel and end the contradictory different national policies across Europe that have damaged customer demand, it added.
The new EU ‘traffic light’ system allows safe travel to/from 15 countries listed as ‘green’ and ‘amber’ with no restrictions. For 15 ‘red’-list countries, there may be restrictions in place such as testing pre-departure/on arrival.
The new system also recommends that member states apply a regional approach where possible to ensure regions or islands with low levels of Covid are not penalised.
The airline cites the latest traffic light system list, based on data of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Cyprus tops the amber section with 29 cases per 100,000 people followed by Norway with 33 cases per 100,000 and Finland with 36.
The rest of the amber countries are Latvia, Germany, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Malta, Ireland and Austria. No restrictions or quarantine is suggested for travel to and from these countries.
Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Iceland, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic are in the red with suggestions for travel restrictions such as testing prior to departure or upon arrival.
The only EU countries in Cyprus’ latest category A list, are Germany, Latvia and Finland.
Denmark, Greece, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Sweden and Norway that are also ‘amber’ according to the EU system, are in Cyprus’ category B countries which means passengers need to furnish a negative coronavirus test.
Austria, Portugal and Malta, which are in the EU amber list, for Cyprus they are category C countries which means no tourists are allowed in. Likewise, countries such as Hungary, Romania and the Netherlands for which the EU system suggests testing is needed before travel, are also in Cyprus’ category C.
“Health experts – including the WHO & the ECDC – confirm that quarantines don’t work, and air travel represents minimal risk for the spread of the virus,” the airline said. “In fact, Ryanair has carried over 16.5m passengers this summer with zero inflight transmissions.”
It added that the adoption of the EU ‘traffic light’ system will allow families to re-unite and businesses to thrive, as the world recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said the implementation of this coordinated regional approach “will help restore consumer confidence ahead of a difficult winter season, and allow all airlines plan for summer 2021, with millions of jobs dependent on the recovery of our aviation and tourism sectors. “