Riga International Airport and the Latvian Aviation Association (LAA) express their support for the recommendations developed by the Council of the European Union for the lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to European Union (EU) countries, including for Covid-19 vaccinated persons; and calls for these recommendations to be implemented as soon as possible.
“Passenger traffic at European airports dropped by 1.72 billion last year, falling to the level of 1995. This has caused enormous damage not only to the aviation sector, but also to the economies of the European Union. The increase in the level of immunization inside and outside Europe, as well as the introduction of sound safety mechanisms at the EU level, have provided a solid basis for the controlled lifting of entry restrictions. Given that air traffic and tourism make a significant contribution to the economy of any country, Riga Airport expresses its support for the recommendations of the Council of the European Union and calls for their implementation as soon as possible,” says Laila Odiņa, Chairperson of the Board of Riga Airport.
The recommendation to restrict non-essential travel to EU countries, taking into account the epidemiological situation during the Covid-19 pandemic, was adopted by the Council of the European Union on 30 June 2020. In its latest recommendation, published on 20 May, the Council of the European Union notes that the situation has changed significantly now that mass vaccination campaigns against SARS-SoV-2 have been launched in the EU+ zone, as well as in many other regions and third countries.
The lifting of the entry restrictions, as recommended by the Council of the European Union, would apply to adults from outside the EU who can prove that they have completed a full course of vaccination against Covid-19 with one of the EU-approved World Health Organization (WHO) emergency vaccines. In turn, children who cannot be vaccinated due to their age should, in the opinion of the Council of the European Union, be allowed to travel together with their vaccinated parents, provided that they have taken a PCR test within 72 hours of entry, and the test result is negative.
At the same time, the Council of the European Union points out that Member States should also set up “emergency suspension” mechanisms to allow Member States to take coordinated emergency measures in response to the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19 virus in third countries. The introduction of the EU digital green certificate, according to the Council of the European Union, provides a basis for vaccination certificates issued by third countries to be considered equivalent.
The Latvian Aviation Association emphasizes that the aviation industry is ready to quickly adapt to any new requirements to limit the spread of the virus, at the same time calling on the responsible authorities to take immediate action so as not to endanger the competitiveness of the Latvian aviation industry with other countries.
Zigmārs Vestfāls, Member of the Board of the Latvian Aviation Association: “Latvian aviation companies have been in a deep, unprecedented crisis caused by the Covid 19 pandemic for more than a year and a half. Despite these challenges, our industry has complied with all government requirements and has done its utmost to help curb the spread of the virus. Taking into account the new recommendations of the Council of the European Union, the increasing pace of vaccination and the progress of the introduction of digital green certificates, we call on the Latvian government to review the restrictions on the movement of people by air in the near future. The Latvian aviation industry has long implemented all the necessary epidemiological safety measures and is ready to meet any new requirements. We are asking for swift and consistent action so that we can be sure that the competitiveness and resumption of our industry is not jeopardized by the situation in this sector, both in our neighbourhood and in other EU countries.”
Riga Airport is a fast-growing Northern European air traffic hub, connecting the Baltic States with European business centres and popular holiday destinations. As a member organization of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Aviation Industry Charter for COVID-19, Riga Airport works to the highest standards of epidemiological safety. Skytrax has awarded Riga Airport a four-star rating for its implemented Covid-19 safety measures.