In July, new routes will be opened from Tallinn Airport to 12 destinations, including London, Milan, Edinburgh, Malaga, Girona, Dusseldorf, Dublin, Oslo and Warsaw, as travel restrictions applied due to the coronavirus crisis are being gradually lifted and connections with major European destinations are being restored.
Eero Pärgmäe, the chief commercial officer of Tallinn Airport, described June as a month when many things became clearer, as developments in air traffic occurred within days and even hours.
Pärgmäe said the desire and need of people to travel has not disappeared and airlines have waited for long to reopen the routes.
"The good news is that flying is again possible to major hubs as well as the beloved holiday destinations," he said.
First, airlines have reopened routes to business and holiday destinations that are important for Estonians, such as Berlin, Warsaw, Paris and Copenhagen, but also to major connecting airports, such as Frankfurt, Helsinki and Riga. Routes to Brussels, Istanbul and Moscow are expected to open in August
At the beginning of July, tour operator Novatours started selling charter flights to Greece.
"We believe that holiday flights will be offered in August also to other destinations that are popular among Estonians. People are really waiting for charter flights to Turkey, Bulgaria and Spain. However, we can start talking about reopening these destinations only if they are safe for passengers," the CCO added.
Pärgmae said Tallinn Airport hopes to see 30 destinations opened by the end of August, which would be quite near the pre-crisis level when passengers were able to fly with 15 airlines to 36 destinations, 28 of which were open round the year.
Currently, seven airlines - Air Baltic, Finnair, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Norwegian, Transaviabaltika and Wizzair - have opened regular routes to Tallinn. In July, most likely also Belavia, LOT, EasyJet will do the same, while Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot and SAS are expected to resume operation to Tallinn in August.
Pärgmae said that airports and airlines have worked hard to ensure traveling is safe for people.
"For the time being, wearing a mask on board a plane is obligatory, while wearing a mask at the airport is to a large extent voluntary," Pargmae noted. He recommended that passengers get acquainted with safety regulations and possible restrictions at the destination, airports and airlines before each flight.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry has recommended refraining from international travel, except for countries of Europe where the coronavirus infection rate is 16 or fewer cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days and upon return from where no self-isolation is required.
To establish direct flights to a country from Tallinn the government has said the infection rate needs to average 25 per 100,000 inhabitants for a two week period.
Additional information about staying in quarantine in Estonia can be found here.
More information about the restrictions in European Union countries can be found here.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Roberta Vaino