Aas: Charter flights to Egypt and Turkey not allowed

Passenger jet over Tallinn Airport.
Passenger jet over Tallinn Airport. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The government says that people should seriously consider the need to travel during the fall school holidays. While charter flights to EU and so-called green list third countries will be allowed, traveling to Turkey and Egypt is off the table.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) said that he took to the government a proposal to alleviate flight restrictions. The government decided not to lay down additional restrictions.

"This concerns European air traffic. Flying is free, with the exception of destinations where the COVID-19 case rate is double the European average. The same limitation is in place for charter flights inside Europe," the minister said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu told ERR that people should think about whether a trip abroad is really necessary.

"The government's general logic is to allow charter trips inside the EU and to so-called safe third countries," he said.

Direct flights outside the EU are allowed to Uruguay, Rwanda, Tunisia, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Thailand and conditionally also China.

Taavi Aas added that general restrictions on travel outside the EU will remain in place.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

"We are heading into school holidays and we have a negative experience from this spring. If we look at where people want to take charter flights, it's usually Egypt and Turkey. Egypt administers very few tests and the case rate there is virtually unknown. And in the case of Turkey, we have reason to doubt whether testing has taken place quite as we've been told. In Estonia, we base our data on ECDC reports information from which is credible," Aas explained.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said he asked the head of the Health Board for their opinion on traveling to Egypt and Turkey during the school break.

"He said that considering current infection figures, he does not believe it right. The social minister said as much," Ratas added.

Urmas Reinsalu said the government also discussed Estonia's position regarding European Commission proposals on EU border movement. These matters will be discussed at next week's EU General Affairs Council meeting, the foreign minister said.

"People traveling to Latvia from Monday will have to electronically /.../ fill out an online form after which they will be sent a QR code. And the person might be asked to produce that code," Reinsalu said on new rules for crossing the Latvian border.

The foreign minister added that Estonia is interested in retaining the Valga-Valka movement bubble.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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