Restrictions on Passenger Flights to Finland from the UK, Ireland and South Africa No Longer in Force as from 25 January
Authorities have substantially strengthened health security measures at Finland’s airports. According to an opinion issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the suspension of passenger flights is no longer necessary if sufficient measures are in place at airports. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has decided not to extend the restrictions on air services from the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa.
The temporary flight restrictions currently in force are scheduled to expire on Monday 25 January 2021. In response to Traficom's earlier request, THL issued an opinion regarding the possible extension of restrictions on passenger flights from the UK, Ireland and South Africa.
In its opinion, THL stated that travellers arriving from these countries continue to constitute a significant risk with regard to the spread to Finland of new coronavirus mutations. With the situation in Finland described as serious, effective restrictions and control measures remain necessary. According to THL’s assessment, health security measures at Finnish airports have been strengthened substantially following the detection of the mutations, making it possible to effectively mitigate travel-related risks.
In addition, THL requires that travellers arriving from the UK, Ireland and South Africa be directed to undergo a health examination referred to in the Communicable Diseases Act upon arrival. On the basis of the examination, travellers must be ordered to quarantine for 14 days. The arrivals may only leave quarantine before the end of that period if they can provide two negative coronavirus test results, with the first test taking place a maximum of 72 hours before boarding the plane to Finland or upon arrival, and the second no less than 72 hours after arrival in Finland.
In THL’s view, the suspension of passenger flights can no longer be considered essential if the authorities are shown to have adequate resources to implement these measures.
The City of Vantaa and airport operator Finavia have confirmed that they are prepared and have the necessary resources, in accordance with THL’s opinion, to fulfil their responsibilities under the Communicable Diseases Act at the airport of arrival. THL has corroborated the adequacy of the measures.
The restrictions on air services imposed by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency expire at 11.59 on 25 January 2021.
THL recommended that airlines require passengers travelling to Finland from abroad to present a negative coronavirus test certificate before boarding. However, passengers with a medical certificate attesting that they have had the coronavirus disease less than six months ago and have since recovered are not required to present a negative test result. At this stage, vaccination certificates will not be accepted as a substitute for test certificates. Finally, THL recommended that airlines instruct passengers to present their test certificates to public health officials at the airport of arrival.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency is the competent authority in aviation safety, security in civil aviation and aircraft noise. Traficom may, for reasons of public order and safety, prohibit an aircraft from departing, order it to land, require identification, assign a heading or flight altitude or otherwise intercept an aircraft in flight.
Jarkko Saarimäki, Deputy Director-General, jarkko.saarimaki(at)traficom.fi, Twitter @Saarimaki (External link)
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See Traficom's earlier press releases regarding the restrictions on air services:
- Restrictions on Passenger Flights to Finland From the UK, Ireland and South Africa to Continue until 25 January (External link)
- Suspension of Passenger Flights to Finland Extended to Cover Ireland and South Africa as Well as UK — New Restrictions in Force from 11 to 18 January 2021 (External link)
- Suspension of Passenger Flights from the UK to Finland to Continue until 11 January (External link)
- All passenger flights from Great Britain suspended for two weeks (External link)