COVID Flight Ban Forces Austrian Airlines To Cancel Flights

Austrian Airlines has been forced to cancel flights to 14 destinations following a new landing ban implemented by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection. The ban is currently valid until July 31st but could be extended.

Austrian Airlines, COVID-19, Flight Ban
A new flight ban has hit Austrian Airlines’ recovery. Photo: @alexcheban via Austrian Airlines

Following the height of the pandemic’s impact in April, many countries are reopening borders, and slowly bringing down the metaphorical walls that are flight bans. However, some states are bucking the trend. Take Ireland, for example. The country was yesterday blasted by Ryanair for refusing to review a blanket 14-day quarantine policy. Now Austria has implemented an extended flight ban, affecting arrivals from several countries.

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The bans details

Austria is set to implement a flight ban affecting incoming flights from 18 different countries at midnight tonight. The ban is initially planned to last until July 31st, but it could easily be extended by the ministry responsible for health.

Unsurprisingly, the ban has been brought in as a response to the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping around the world. Flights will be banned from arriving from:

  • Albania
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Kosovo
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
Austrian Airlines, COVID-19, Flight Ban
A belt of countries around Eastern Europe is affected by the ban. Image:

There are some exceptions to the rules, such as repatriation flights. However, most of these wouldn’t apply to the majority of passengers transported by Austrian Airlines.

Interestingly, the United States, despite having the highest instance of COVID-19 in the world, isn’t on the list. As such, the airline’s long-haul flight to New York’s Newark Airport is unaffected.

An effect on all routes

Austrian Airlines highlighted that it would feel an effect on all of its routes as a result of the landing ban. Many of the routes affected were popular with transferring passengers, perhaps heading to the United States.

Commenting, Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto said,

“Of course, we understand that health is a top priority in the current situation… However, cross-the-board travel bans for entire countries – with extremely short notice – are an enormous challenge for us and our guests… Together with the authorities and the airport, we want and must find a solution for transfer traffic in order to prevent uncontrolled entry as fast as possible”

Austrian Airlines, COVID-19, Flight Ban
Despite the high number of COVID cases, the airline’s US route has not been affected by the ban. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Not just Austrian Airlines

Of course, we’ve focused on Austrian Airlines, as it will be the worst hit by the ban. For most carriers, the ban will only impact one or two routes instead of 14. Wizz Air is also likely to be affected by the ban. The airline has a sizeable presence in Vienna, flying to destinations such as the United Kingdom, and many of the Eastern European countries named in the flight ban.

Will you be affected by the new flight ban? Do you support it, or is it a bit too extreme? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!