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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Explained: What the new lockdowns in Europe mean for international air travel

The British government has made it explicit that "there is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday - this includes staying in a second home” thus ruling out letting people travel for tourist purposes.

Written by Pranav Mukul , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 6, 2020 12:56:40 pm
Europe lockdown, international air travel, international air travel explained, coronavirus lockdown, France, Germany, Belgium, Lufthansa, express explained, world newsPlanes of the airlines Lufthansa and Easyjet stand at Brandenburg 'Willy Brandt', BER, in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany.(Kay Nietfeld/POOL via AP)

At least four European countries have re-entered lockdowns in efforts to contain spread coronavirus. These include the UK, Germany, France and Belgium. The new lockdowns effectively mean that people are restricted to the confines of their homes barring getting out for essential needs. As a result, these restrictions are expected to throw a spanner in the works for airlines, which are likely to see a sudden fall in travel demand.

What happens to my travel plans?

Although these jurisdictions have not closed their borders whether within Europe or international, airlines are cancelling flights on account of lower demand. Some airlines have cancelled a number of intra-Europe flights that may affect a traveller’s ability to take the connecting flight to the international hub. For example, someone travelling from Germany to India via France is expected to have their plans disrupted with flights between Germany and France getting cancelled.

Are flights from India to Europe operating?

Yes. Most of the airlines are continuing to operate as per schedule under the air bubble arrangements that India has with the UK, France and Germany. Lufthansa, Air India and Virgin Atlantic have said that as of now they will continue to operate as per schedule but were monitoring the situation. British Airways in a statement said it was analysing the situation as well. Vistara, which currently flies four times a week to London from Delhi and was expected to increase the frequency to five times a week from November 21, will operate only three flights a week between November 9 and December 1.📣 Click to follow Express Explained on Telegram

What about people trying to travel out of these countries?

The British government has made it explicit that “there is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday – this includes staying in a second home” thus ruling out letting people travel for tourist purposes. Germany on the other hand has only entered a partial lockdown by asking public places like restaurants and bars to shut down temporarily. However, a common point in the lockdowns of these countries is that they have not prohibited air bubble arrangements like the ones they have with India. Therefore, for travellers in the eligible categories, which are Indian citizens, OCI cardholders, those travelling for emergency or business purposes, will still be allowed to travel to India from these countries under the bubble flights.

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