AMSTERDAM – The Netherlands is cutting flight connections abroad amid concerns about a mutation of the coronavirus – with airline KLM temporarily suspending all long-haul services starting friday, according to a spokeswoman. Stricter entry requirements could become a problem for flight crews.
A fast-spreading virus mutation is prompting the Netherlands to drastically tighten Corona measures – starting Saturday, a general flight ban will apply to passenger planes from Great Britain, South Africa and South America. The particularly contagious virus variants are said to be widespread in those areas.
The Dutch airline fears it will have to leave crew members behind abroad due to entry regulations. Therefore, it is canceling its long-haul program starting friday.
KLM will suspend all long-haul passenger and cargo flights starting today, Friday (Jan. 22, 2021), Dutch media report. The same applies to some routes within Europe, where crews would have to spend the night abroad. The reason is stricter entry rules in the Netherlands.
Among other things, the tightened travel rules provide for a PCR test and additionally a rapid test immediately before departure – if a crew member tests positive, participation in the return flight would be denied, and he or she would have to stay behind.
The Netherlands has already been in lockdown since mid-December. Stores, schools and restaurants are closed until february 9 and personal contacts are severely restricted.
Sources: aero.de, aerotelegraph