Germany Considers Stopping International Flight Traffic to Combat Corona Virus

Germany is considering stopping almost all international flight traffic to stop corona virus mutations from reaching German soil.


According to Germany’s largest newspaper ‘Bild’, Chancellor Angela Merkel is contemplating the far-reaching measure to halt international flight traffic.

Ms Merkel reportedly told MPs of her CDU (Christian Democratic Union) party that German citizens expect the government to take “certain precautions” at the country’s borders.

According to media reports, she told the lawmakers that Germans “understand that it is not the time to travel now”.

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The Bundestag – the German Federal Parliament – in Berlin. ©Paliparan


German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a member of Merkel’s conservative Bavarian sister party CSU (Christian Social Union), said that the government is looking at Israel as an example.

The Jewish state announced that it would temporarily shut down air traffic to and from the country until the end of the month, with only a handful of flights being exempted.

According to Mr Seehofer, the German government has to “consider drastic measures” due to “the danger from the numerous virus mutations”.

He added: “That includes significantly stricter border checks, especially at the borders of high-risk areas, but also reducing air travel to Germany to almost zero, as Israel is currently doing.”

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Lufthansa planes at Frankfurt International Airport. ©Paliparan

Big three

If Germany decides to restrict air traffic, it would be another blow to European aviation, making it increasingly hard for people to travel internationally.

It would mean that Lufthansa, one of Europe’s largest airlines, would no longer be able to operate most of its flights.

Flying on Europe’s other two major carriers, British Airways and Air France/KLM, is also impacted by government measures. Those who want to travel on BA or Air France – even transit passengers who do not set foot in the UK or France and who are merely change planes in Paris or London – need to provide a negative PCR test before being allowed to board.

Travellers on KLM even face more stringent restrictions as besides a negative PCR test they also need to show a negative rapid antigen test taken up to four hours before flight departure.

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The departure hall of Dusseldorf Airport. ©Paliparan

Flight options

If you need to travel in Europe, that leaves very little options these days. And although I can understand why some governments feel the need to restrict leisure travel (even though I do not agree with it personally) they conveniently forget that some people have no choice but to travel, either on business trips or for urgent family matters.

Even low-cost flight operations have been scaled back to just a trickle of normal traffic. The Flightradar24 post below tells the entire story in just two images..

In short

Germany is strongly considering halting all international flight traffic in order to stop the spread of the corona virus. According to government ministers, the step might be necessary to prevent more virulent COVID-19 mutations getting a foothold on German soil.

It would however be a major setback for European aviation in general and Lufthansa in particular, and would leave travellers with very little options to choose from when they need to fly.

Although I hope that the situation in Europe and across the world will go back to normal soon, this is yet another sign that we are in for a bleak travel winter.

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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