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Coronavirus travel restrictions around Europe: Which transport remains available?

Issued on: 01/04/2020 – 17:00Modified: 01/04/2020 – 17:10

Much of Europe has closed its external b..

By admin , in Health , at April 1, 2020

Issued on: Modified:

Much of Europe has closed its external borders to non-citizens – and within the continents borders, there are drastic restrictions and severely reduced traffic on major transport routes. FRANCE 24 tells more about whats moving and whats stuck around the continent.


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Countries around the EU have adopted different sets of measures, including full lockdowns and shutting down airports, to contain the novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, March 17, the European Commission announced that the Schengen free-travel zone was closing its external borders for 30 days– meaning that only citizens and resident of the Schengen zone would be able to enter.

This received unanimous agreement from the affected countries heads of state and government. There are a few exemptions to the border shutdown: “essential workers” – such as healthcare workers or medical experts, can still travel into and out of the Schengen zone. However, for essential travel by air, railway or road, options are getting more and more limited.

Air travel

Airlines around the continent have drastically slashed their routes and grounded planes, and many airports have closed or shuttered terminals. Some of the major airport closures are listed below:

As of Wednesday April 1, all flights originally scheduled to arrive at Pariss southern airport, Orly (ORY), are being redirected to the bigger hub of Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG).

Europes busiest airport, London Heathrow (LHR) says it is now operating at 25 percent of its normal capacity. All terminals are still open “on a scaled-down basis”, with the airport saying it is focusing on repatriating British nationals and transporting air cargo. Londons second airport, Gatwick (LGW) is temporarily closing its North terminal – similarly, terminals 2 and 3 at Manchester airport (MAN) in the north of the UK were shut on March 25 “until further notice”.

Europes third-busiest airport, Amsterdam Schiphol, has reduced its capacity. Only two piers are now in use for passenger flights, and check-in is limited to two departure areas only. Frankfurt airport (FRA), operated by Fraport, has partial closures of Terminals 1 and 2. Most of the airports shops are closed, and restaurants are operating reduced hours. The airport recently reported that passenger traffic is down by just over 90 percent on this time one year ago, reflecting the drastic cuts in flight capacity by most airlines.

In Italy, Terminal 1 at Romes Fiumicino airport (FCO) is temporarily closed while flight capacity is reduced. Spanish airport operator Aena has announced it will keep only terminal 4 open at Madrids its Adolfo Suarez airport (MAD).

In Barcelona, all traffic at El Prat airport (BCN) is being transferred to terminal 1. Other regional airports in Spain are also set to move to reduced opening hours.


The cross-channel Eurostar service has been drastically slashed. At the time of writing, Eurostar is running just one train each way per day, on only two routes: Paris – London, and Brussels – London. In line with French and British government restrictions, passengers are advised that the service is currently only for essential travel, and only for permanent residents of the UK, Republic of Ireland, and the Schengen travel zone.

Thalys operates the other major international rail service running from Paris. It is currently running two round trips per day on two routes: Paris – Brussels Midi and Amsterdam – Brussels Midi. All passengers are advised that Belgian police are organizing checks on arrival in Belgium “to verify the essential and necessary nature of your trip”. Low-cost Thalys IZY trains are not running.

Connections to Germany and “Thalys Snow” destinations have been cancelled, as well as services to Marne-La-Vallée (Disneyland Paris) and Paris Charles-De-Gaulle airport. Thalys notes that it could make further timetable changes, and says that it will “do its utmost” to proactively inform passengers by email and SMS if they need to rearrange any travel.

Frances SNCF national rail operator is offering free rail travel to medical staff during the coronavirus crisis, on TGV Inoui and Intercités services. In line with French government restrictions on non-essential travel, SNCF says it is operating a “strict minimum of services, to allow essential servicRead More – Source