This Monday the international tourist campaign began with the reopening of the borders for visitors from outside the European Union. In the arrival and departure areas of Madrid’s Barajas airport, the busiest in Spain, hardly any differences have been noticed with previous weeks, although the Aena data does reveal an increase in air traffic with non-EU countries, which has skyrocketed 36% in Spain since last Monday. “I had been waiting for this moment for two years, if I could have traveled earlier,” Walkiria celebrated at the door of Terminal 4 after landing from Uruguay.
Her job only allows Walkiria to travel in the summer, and in the past she was left without seeing her two children and four grandchildren, who live in Spain, due to the closure of the borders. For this reason, this year he did not want to take risks: “I traveled today because it was the first day that I could.” Until now, non-EU citizens were only allowed to fly to Spain if it was essential (family reasons and in certain cases for work or studies), a requirement that has been eliminated this Monday for travelers vaccinated with the full schedule and who received the last puncture at least 14 days ago.
The data from the airport manager Aena show that the relaxation of demands on tourists has had an immediate effect on flights. Traffic at Spanish airports – it adds departures and arrivals, since Aena does not provide the data separately – has gone from 2,306 flights last Monday to 2,891, 25% more. In the case of flights to or from outside the EU, those most affected by the new changes, they have gone from 253 a week ago to 343 this Monday, 36% more, although still very far from the 655 registered in the same dates of 2019.
The relaxation of the restrictions also affects tourists from the European Union, who as of this Monday will be able to enter Spain with an antigen test, instead of with the PCR test, more expensive than the first and slower to the time to show the result. Likewise, they may travel if they have been vaccinated or if they show that they have contracted the virus in recent months and have overcome the infection. The arrival of June, together with these changes at the border, have triggered the number of European flights to or from Spain by almost 50% in just one week.
The Airline Association (ATA) values ”very positively” the changes introduced this Monday, since “they will allow the beginning of the recovery of traffic from all over Europe to Spain”, said its president Javier Gándara.
Despite the facilities to travel to the Peninsula, some tourists still do not know what they need to enter Spain, even from neighboring countries such as France. “Only with the vaccine we could not travel, we needed the PCR,” say three boys from Paris who have already received the two Pfizer vaccines and who arrived in Madrid this Monday.
Russian Sputnik vaccine remains banned
As detailed in the Health document, non-EU travelers arriving in Spain must be vaccinated with drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sinopharm and Sinovac. This limits the arrival of travelers from Latin America, where the Russian Sputnik vaccine is one of the most used.
Martín, Boel and Vero, all around 30 years old, landed this morning in Barajas from Havana and, despite having the complete Cuban vaccine schedule, they had to present a negative PCR to get on the plane and to enter in Spain because its vaccine is not among those admitted. They have had no problem because they only made a stopover in Spain to fly to Mexico, but if they wanted to come to the Peninsula they could not have embarked.
In this sense, Javier Gándara, from ALA, has asked this Monday that travelers from Latin America be allowed to enter Spain with just one PCR.