Status: 26.03.2021 4:47 p.m.
From Tuesday onwards, entry into Germany by plane is only possible after submitting a negative corona test. What does this mean for air travelers?
The travel group TUI is reacting calmly to the new entry regulation of the federal government, according to which from Tuesday air travelers are only allowed to enter Germany if they can show a negative corona test. “We will set up test facilities for returnees in our own hotels and Robinson Clubs and offer them as agreed,” says CEO Fritz Joussen.
TUI had already had similar experiences last autumn after German vacationers had to submit a negative corona test when entering the Canary Islands. “If testing is the prerequisite for gradually giving back more freedoms, then we should go this way – also for hotels, restaurants, cafés and cultural establishments in Germany,” said the TUI boss.
Relaxation at German airports
The Frankfurt airport operator Fraport is reacting in a similarly relaxed manner. He refers to the request of tagesschau.de on the fact that it is an entry regulation, i.e. departure airports abroad and not the airports in Germany are affected. Therefore, no additional test capacities need to be set up in this country. According to industry observers, airlines should not incur any additional costs either, since in most countries returning travelers have the option of being tested outside their departure airport: in private test stations, hotels or pharmacies.
Air travelers must, however, make sure that the test can be taken no more than 48 hours before entering Germany. In addition, the new regulation applies regardless of the corona situation in the country from which someone flies to Germany. However, travelers usually have to bear the costs themselves. For some vacation trips, they are already included in the price.
The ADAC points out that corona self-tests for at home, which are available in supermarkets or pharmacies in many countries, are not accepted as test evidence for entry or exit controls. Rather, a medical certificate or a documented negative test result is required. This proof must be presented on paper or digitally in German, English or French when entering Germany.
Industry warns of stranded vacationers
The airlines organized in the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry (BDL) warn of problems, because in some countries there are still too few test options. This applies particularly to countries popular with holidaymakers such as Cuba, the Maldives and the Dominican Republic.
The airlines are determined to support the implementation of the extended test obligation for flights and to inform the passengers that they have to present a negative test result before departure. But because the “test infrastructure” in some countries is not yet as developed as in the EU or the USA, the federal government should allow exceptions to the entry regulations. “Otherwise passengers will be left abroad,” warns the association and suggests that, in exceptional cases, air travelers can be tested immediately after arriving in Germany at their destination airport. “We ask politicians to take up this proposal in order to prevent passengers from countries with inadequate test infrastructure from getting stranded.”
Jens Spahn has already postponed the entry into force of the new regulation by a few days to March 30th. The minister justified the new scheduling by saying that travelers and airlines should be given “a little more time” to prepare.
Giving air traffic new impetus
Travel lawyers like Philipp Kadelbach have long been demanding that passengers are only allowed to board an aircraft with a negative Corona test. For good reason: “If all passengers have to be tested for Corona before a flight, it helps to restore confidence in the safety of flight operations,” said the founder of the passenger rights portal “Flightright” of the dpa news agency. In his opinion, rapid antigen tests provide a sufficient level of security. The costs for the tests, whether at the airport or in a test center at the traveler’s place of residence, could already be included in the travel price.
The expert also advocates that people who have already been vaccinated should also come on board – possibly even without a test, if it is proven that they can no longer transmit the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, from the point of view of the BDL, travel restrictions in non-risk countries should remain a temporary exception. With the new entry regulation, the federal government is deviating from the sensible and proven distinction between risk areas and non-risk areas. “It is all the more urgent that, after the temporary lockdown phase, we return to more differentiated travel regulations that are based on the actual risk of infection,” said the demand.