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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 29.05.2024, 11:50

Estonia's travel sector companies turn to justice chancellor over flight restrictions

BC, Tallinn, 02.10.2020.Print version
The Estonian Travel and Tourism Association (ETFL) has asked the chancellor of justice to examine whether the regulation by Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas that stepped into force on Friday is consistent with the Constitution and other laws, informs LETA/BNS.

Besides, the association is considering going to court.  

According to the new regulation by the minister of economic affairs and infrastructure that was supposed to ease travel restrictions, air services from Tallinn to Frankfurt, Helsinki, Copenhagen, London, Riga and Warsaw will remain open regardless of the incidence of coronavirus in the respective countries.

Direct flights to all other destinations are forbidden unless the incidence of the disease in the country of destination is below an established norm. According to the travel companies, the regulation means that restrictions are becoming stricter instead. 

The association finds the measure to represent ineffective over-regulation, which fails to answer the question why a flight from one airport has to be preferred to a flight from another airport when the incidence rates of the infection in the respective countries and regions are the same.  

"This is yet another unjustified economic blow to the travel companies that organize direct flights to various holiday destinations or other airports and which are now compelled either to cancel flights or find longer, more expensive and more difficult options for the people to reach their destination," said the president of ETFL, Tiit Pruuli.

Pruuli said that, for instance, while it is no longer permitted to travel to Turkey for holiday from Estonia directly, it is still permitted to do it via Germany. 

"These measures are disproportionate for the containment of the spread of the virus in Estonia and unequal treatment is caused without justification -- these rules create no bigger protection, as it will be possible for those who need it to still enter or exit through aforementioned cities and countries, while the risk of getting infected definitely is higher," Pruuli said.

According to Pruuli, experts in the fields of medicine and aviation have in recent months repeatedly drawn the attention of ministers and the government to the fact that the risk of infection on a direct flight is several times smaller than when taking connecting flights. 

The ETFL finds that when measures are imposed, it is necessary to consider and substantiate on each occasion whether and how the restriction of rights and freedoms that is being undertaken is necessary considering the various constitutional values, and the measures applied must be proportionate to the desired goal. 

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