The Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection has massively expanded the list of landing bans for aircraft. Starting Thursday, 16 July 2020, no regular flights from the following countries, among others, will be permitted to land in Austria: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Egypt, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. The landing bans for aircraft from Great Britain, Sweden, and Ukraine have been extended. The decree is valid until 31 July 2020.
Due to the official prohibition, Austrian Airlines is forced to cancel all flights between Vienna and the following destinations during the period 16-31 July 2020: Belgrade, Bucharest, Cairo, Kyiv, London, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Sibiu, Skopje, Sofia, Stockholm, Tirana and Varna. The landing bans will also have an impact on the remaining route network of Austrian Airlines, due to the fact that the affected routes are frequented by many transfer passengers. These passengers will be missing, for example on flights to the USA.
“Of course, we understand that health is a top priority in the current situation. It remains a common goal to contain the pandemic. However, cross-the-board travel bans for entire countries - with extremely short notice - are an enormous challenge for us and our guests. We advocate a uniform and stable travel policy within the EU so as not to weaken Vienna's position as a flight hub in the long term. Business travelers and other transfer passengers will otherwise find alternative ways of getting to long-haul destinations”, says Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto. “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”, the Austrian Airlines CCO continues.
Passengers whose flights were canceled and who do not want to make use of the rebooking options can apply for a refund using the online form on the Austrian Airlines website. Passengers who wish to take their flight at a later date have various rebooking options and can start their rebooked journey up until the end of 2021.