People who decide to leave Belgium and travel abroad right now are not stupid, as it is currently safer in some traditional holiday destinations than in Belgium, according to the CEO of Air Belgium, Niky Terzakis.
From 16 December, Air Belgium resumed its flights from Brussels South Charleroi Airport to the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and the flights have been a success, Terzakis told La Libre Belgique.
"There has been an explosion in the number of bookings," he said, adding that the company's flights are almost fully booked until the end of January.
According to Terzakis, Belgium's policy of travelling is not consistent.
"I was personally shocked to hear the Health Minister (Frank Vandenbroucke) say that people travelling today were stupid," he said, referring to Vandenbroucke's statements during last Friday's press conference, where he said that travelling abroad right now is "quite frankly, just stupid.”
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"This is unacceptable. The government is in the process of passenger-shaming," Terzakis said. "Basically they say: 'we are allowing flights, but we are going to multiply the controls and we are going to make you feel like it was a bad idea to leave'."
The air travel sector takes more precautions than any other, he said, adding that it could be a good idea to implement tests before boarding trains or buses.
Currently, Belgium's infection figures are ten times higher than in Guadeloupe and Martinique, which are both orange travel zones, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
"Belgians who take the plane are not idiots. It is safer to travel there than to stay in our country," Terzakis said. "You have to be responsible: a whole sector is at a standstill and is suffering terribly."
The Brussels Times