As reported by ERR NewsEstonian state-owned airline Nordica announced it would operate round-trip flights between Tallinn and London Gatwick, to allow both Estonians to get stuck in Britain after the EU suspended flights last week from returning, and those in Estonia wishing to go to UK to do the same.
Flights were canceled after a new strain of coronavirus thought to be far more infectious than the variety so far found was identified in the UK, which recently struck a deal with the EU towards the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Nordica flights at the time of writing have departed from Tallinn, and will depart for the return journey from Gatwick around 11.00 UK time. Ticket prices are reportedly € 250, one way.
AirBaltic flights depart Monday
Latvian state-owned airline airBaltic also operates a special flight, for the same reason, which flies on Monday and is used by Estonians and Lithuanians and Latvians.
The two flights between them will pick up between 124 and 140 people who had registered on the Estonian foreign ministry’s travel portal due to return to Estonia from the UK, BNS reported.
Logistics requires close cooperation between the foreign ministries of the three countries, which the Estonian foreign ministry says has been successful.
“The cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the foreign ministries of Latvia and Lithuania has been building, and has helped find a common solution in this difficult situation,” a ministry spokesman told BNS.
Monday’s airBaltic flight saw 48 seats for Estonian citizens and residents, mediated by the foreign ministry, BNS reported, although tickets for all of this were purchased – at a cost of € 220 – and used, it is not known, the ministry said.
People from all three Baltic Countries take special flights
Those who landed in Riga Monday with the aim of Estonia still had to arrange flights from Riga to Tallinn.
The Nordica flight on Tuesday will also carry Latvian and Lithuanian nationals, although figures for this have not been reported. BNS reported that the flights were always booked on Sundays. Tallinn as the northernmost Baltic capital is in a less convenient location than Riga, in the center.
Seventy-six Estonians and residents have booked Nordica flights, the BNS said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced its flight ban on Sunday, December 20, in respect of its partners in two other Baltic States, and was followed by several other EU countries, which in the end number 27.
Estonian citizen and resident registered with the ministry of foreign affairs
Those who have registered their UK live in the ministry’s travel portal contacted to determine if they needed an urgent return journey, before New Year’s Day, when the UK flight ban will be lifted according to circumstances.
One flight from London to Tallinn was still flying Monday morning (21 December) due to short notice of the ban announcement, which was made late Sunday.
Three days later, the Estonian government also imposed coronavirus quarantine requirements in addition to those required for citizens of any European country at a reported 14-day rate of 50 or more per 100,000 inhabitants (currently all states except the Vatican and Iceland – ed.).
This means arrivals from Britain in Estonia, including those on two emergency flights, should be quarantined for 14 days rather than the current 10 days for other countries. Returning negative on the COVID-19 test on arrival, and passing the second negative seven days later, could shorten this period.
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