Transport Ministry wants to resume international passenger traffic by air and sea next week

  • 2020-05-06
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Ministry of Transport is working to resume international passenger traffic by air and sea from May 13, but the final decision on this will be made by the government, Transport Minister Talis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) told members of the press on Wednesday.

According to the minister, the opening of the land borders is planned for May 18.

"I hope that we can reach an agreement with our neighbors Estonia and Lithuania to allow our citizens to move freely within the neighboring countries," the minister said, adding that experts are currently working on the details, and discussions are underway with the Ministry of Health.

Linkaits stressed that the resumption of international transport will, of course, be limited, because the spread of the virus in Europe has not been averted.

He also said that each airline has set its own security restrictions - some say that passengers on planes will have to arrive with their own masks, while the Latvian national airline airBaltic plans to distribute masks to passengers.

At the same time, the minister regretted that there is no common European Union (EU) regulation on security measures in air transport, so there is a need to improvise.

"Other restrictions are also possible. We assume that for those who come from EU countries, except from Estonia and Lithuania, we will retain the rule of 14 days of self-quarantine," said Linkaits, noting that any security restrictions may have to be imposed at airports and by the carriers themselves.

As reported, in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further in Latvia, a state of emergency came into force on March 13, setting a number of tough restrictions. The state of emergency is in force until May 12. The emergency measures include a ban on all international passenger transportation by air, sea, roads and railway.