EU puts 13 UK airports on 'high risk' list, but only two from France

Greg Dickinson
London's City Airport has been labelled as "high risk" - Getty

So-called 'clean' regional airports – including Edinburgh and Southend – could offer a gateway to quarantine-free holidays this summer

An EU aviation body has placed 13 UK airports on a list of “high-risk” transport hubs, yet only two from France.

The list, put together by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), highlights the airports from which aircraft should be subject to heightened disinfection.

However, some countries, including Greece and the Netherlands, are using the list to inform travel restrictions and other measures on arrivals, which the EASA has spoken out against.

“The list is not intended to suggest travel restrictions or other public health measures (such as quarantine) at State level,” they state.

“There is a lot of confusion about what this list means. Its purpose is simply to indicate routes on which extra disinfecting of aircraft should take place to avoid spread of COVID-19. There is no travel ban or travel warning associated with this,” an EASA spokesperson told Telegraph Travel.

“We are keen not to perpetuate the misinterpretation of the list as a travel advisory tool and we are putting out this message to all relevant parties.”

The Greek government confirmed on Monday that Britons would be able to travel to Greece from June 15 and would face more or less strict screening measures depending on which airport they flew from.

Those travelling from airports on the EASA list would all be tested and face seven days of quarantine if they test negative or 14 days if they test positive. Tourists coming from airports not on the list would only be subject to random testing.

“There are already UK airports from which, after June 15, visitors may come to Greece without going through quarantine,” tourism minister Harry Theoharis told the Telegraph. 

UK airports not on the EASA list include Belfast, Aberdeen, Southampton, Cardiff, Southend, Edinburgh, Bristol. 

When this was raised to the Greek Embassy and tourism board, they maintained that the current advice (based on the EASA list) still stands, although the country is revising decisions daily. As such, between June 15 and July 1 international flights will run to Athens and Thessaloniki airports - those flying from airports not on the EASA list will only be subject to random testing. 

For British holidaymakers this will require finding a connection through another airport not on the list, bearing in mind that the list is continually updated.

Britons could try to reach Greece through circuitous routes between June 15 and July 1. Wizz Air is running regular flights from Edinburgh to Athens, with a stop in Budapest, which is not currently on the EASA list. There are also regular flights from Edinburgh to Athens, via Zurich - another airport not on the list. 

The Netherlands is also using the EASA guidelines to inform which countries must fill in a “fit-to-fly” form. On the FCO page, it states: “Travellers to the Netherlands from high-risk areas as listed online by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, including those transiting the Netherlands, are required by airlines to fill in a ‘fit-to-fly’ health declaration form.

“This will contain questions about your situation and health, including whether you have symptoms of Covid-19. You may be refused permission to board based on your declaration.

“On arrival in the Netherlands your declaration will be checked by public health and security authorities. Travellers from high-risk areas are also strongly advised by the Dutch government to quarantine themselves for at least 14 days.”

Some countries, such as France, only have one region (Ile de France) listed, meaning only two airports are “high risk”. Only three of Italy’s 20 regions are on the list (Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Piemonte).

When quizzed on how the list is formulated, a spokesperson from EASA said: “One of the parameters used to determine which areas/airports are included on this list is input from the public health authorities (so in the case of the UK, the NHS).  The way the authorities compile this information differs from country to country. This in turn leads to the fact that in some instances airports are listed, in others it is regions.”

They added that the EASA list “ should only be of interest for readers who are interested in the recommendations for the technical disinfection of aircraft." However, the fact that British holidaymakers can avoid quarantine and health measures in Greece or the Netherlands (and potentially, soon, more countries) by travelling via “clean” regional airports means the list will indeed be of interest to anyone hoping to go on a holiday this summer.

Which European airports are on the EASA list?

Belgium

All airports

France

All airports in Ile-de-France

Italy

All airports in:

  • Emilia Romagna 
  • Lombardy 
  • Piemonte

Netherlands

  • Amsterdam Schiphol Airport 
  • Eindhoven Airport 
  • Maastricht Aachen Airport 
  • Rotterdam / The Hague Airport

Poland

Katowice Airport

Portugal

  • Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto)
  • Lisbon Portela Airport

Spain

All airports in the following regions:

  • Castile and Leon 
  • Castilla-La Mancha 
  • Catalonia 
  • Madrid

Sweden

All airports in the Stockholm region

United Kingdom

  • Birmingham Doncaster Sheffield
  • East Midlands 
  • Gatwick 
  • Glasgow 
  • Heathrow 
  • Leeds Bradford 
  • Liverpool John Lennon 
  • London City 
  • Luton 
  • Manchester Airport 
  • Newcastle International 
  • Stansted