As a travel industry you can say that these kinds of measures make no sense, but the common sense of the average Dutchman says that the omikron does not come here with the tow barge.
And that common sense is convinced that one infected passenger after eleven hours of flying in a tight space, of course, infects half the aircraft with corona. How could it be otherwise that everyone had tested negative beforehand and dozens tested positive when getting out? 1+1=2, so stop flying right away!
However, it is not that simple. Of course that omikron variant came here by plane. Only much earlier than the end of November. This is according to a study published in January in Italy and Finland by Oxera. The introduction of pre-tests in December was therefore no longer effective and even if you had introduced strict tests directly, this would not have had a significant (Finland) or a small (Italy) distribution in the distribution of WHO and the European ECDC are not fond of travel bans: it may seem sensible, but it does not help.
Then there is the risk of contamination on the plane. This can be reduced quite well with the current approach. For example, a mouth cap while traveling (however annoying that is) lowers the risk of infection by seventy percent. And yes, there is still a chance of contamination during a flight, but that risk is smaller than during travel by bus, metro and train, according to a recent publication in the Dutch Tijdscheskrift for Gene.
It is therefore extremely disappointing that travelers for flights to the EU are still required to show a negative PCR test. This is a real showstopper for many business and leisure travelers. After all, even if you’re feeling fine, a positive test could lead to ten days of incarceration in a faraway destination with a high cost. So you think twice before you want to fly to and back from a country outside the EU.
Fortunately, in mid-February, the European Council recommended not to test everything and everyone before leaving for the EU from 1 March. Various EU countries have adopted this, but the Dutch government is still procrastinating. It will happen, but this kind of needless dawdling costs the sector millions.
Deputy director ANVR
This column appeared in the March issue of Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Click here to order a single issue.