U.S. bans entry to flights from Europe; Dozens of Schiphol flights affected

United States president Donald Trump banned entry to flights from Europe for 30 days starting on the night from Friday to Saturday. This has to do with coronavirus Covid-19. Schiphol will definitely be affected by this ban, the airport said in a brief statement, adding that it is mapping out "what this means exactly for flights to the U.S."

The entry ban exempts countries outside the Schengen Area, like the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Airlines flying from Schiphol serve 22 destinations across the United States, according to the airport's website. These include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington D.C. 

The entry ban applies to all people who have been to countries covered by the European Schengen Treaty within 14 days before their planned departure to the United States. An exception was made for U.S. citizens, provided they are screened for the coronavirus beforehand, and for travelers from the United Kingdom. Why an exception was made for the U.K. is not clear.

“This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation," the U.S. Department o Homeland Security said in a statement.

“In the next 48 hours, in the interest of public health, I intend to issue a supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures,” said Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary for the department.

KLM was getting swamped with questions on its Twitter account. It has not updated its U.S. policy since the overnight ban was announced, but it does allow all passengers to rebook their flights through the end of May with no added fees. Passengers were also told to make sure the contact details they submitted to the airline are current so any new announcements may be directly communicated to them.

This is another Covid-19 related blow for air travel. Travel restrictions and fear of the virus has resulted in passenger numbers plummeting. Airlines are currently forced to fly half-empty planes in order not to lose their takeoff and landing slots. KLM already announced budget cuts to try and compensate for damages. Schiphol was already extremely quiet, even during usually busy hours.

U.S. airlines flying from Schiphol are American Airlines, Delta, and United. 

As of Thursday, 1,118 people in the United States had been diagnosed with Covid-19, and 36 people died because fo the virus, according to NU.nl.