Time to scrap non-essential travel ban, Brussels Airport CEO says

Time to scrap non-essential travel ban, Brussels Airport CEO says
Credit: Brussels Airport

The CEO of Brussels Airport has added to the mounting pressure on the government to reconsider its total travel ban, which is expected to be discussed during the Consultative Committee on Friday.

Although he is not advocating “mass travel,” Belgium should return to the travel situation in December or January, as thousands of people are losing their jobs at the moment, Arnaud Feist, the airport's CEO, said on VRT radio.

"Belgium is the only country in Europe with such a far-reaching travel ban," Feist said, adding that the country should return to a place where travel to countries with green or orange zones is permitted.

Experts have previously explained that the ban on travel abroad is necessary to prevent the import of infections and keep the new coronavirus variants out of Belgium as much as possible.

"We are calling for even more testing on arrival to make sure we can identify all positive cases immediately," the CEO said in response to the question about the risk of variants entering the country.

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Additionally, Feist emphasised the economic impact the ban is having, saying that the companies who operate at the airport are suffering job losses, and that it is getting worse every week.

He also referred to the European Commission asking Belgium to review the travel ban and to lift it as soon as possible.

The Commission gave Belgium ten days to provide more explanations about its ban on non-essential travel, arguing it could have imposed less restrictive measures to protect the public.

Belgium’s travel sector has since further added to the increasing pressure on the government to revise this measure, and announced it is expecting a clear perspective at the next Consultative Committee, following the uncertainty about whether or not the ban will still be in force during the Easter holidays.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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