No flights from UK, South Africa and South America; KLM struggling with new rapid test rule
Passenger flights from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and all of South America will be banned in the Netherlands from Saturday. Earlier this week, the cabinet announced stricter measures for travelers in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and especially the new variants.
Travelers coming from other high-risk areas must be able to provide a negative result from a rapid test. They must have been done no more than four hours before departure, in addition to the already mandatory so-called PCR test. This obligation does not apply to travelers from the Antilles and a number of safe countries.
Certain groups of travelers from outside the European Union can no longer enter the country for the time being. For example, business travelers, students, highly skilled migrants, people from the cultural sector, and people with a family member in the Netherlands cannot come for a short stay.
Meanwhile, airline KLM is still looking for a solution to the fast test problem for their staff. If that "feverish debate" does not yield any results, it will be challenging to continue longer flights, said a spokesperson. In that case, their crew might have to stay behind, and KLM sees that as bad employment practices. The situation creates an "immense logistical puzzle."
If the mandatory rapid test before departure to the Netherlands also applies to KLM staff, it is almost impossible for flights to continue, the airline expects. Long-haul flights, starting Saturday, may experience changes.
Of the "safe countries," KLM does not fly to a number of them, such as Australia, New Zealand, and Rwanda, but to countries such as China, Thailand, and South Korea. For all other destinations, it is still uncertain whether KLM can continue to fly there.