How to find the latest Covid flight restrictions

By David Mumford


With Covid-19 now present on every continent except Antarctica, travel restrictions for countries around the world are changing almost daily. Keeping tabs on everything is hard work, but if you want to know what the restrictions are for specific countries, there are some really good resources out there to make this easier.

1. Check the Notams!

We never thought we’d say it, but we are seeing these slowly starting to improve, with most countries issuing Notams containing specific information about exactly what kind of flights are allowed. Make sure to check the FIR ICAO code of the country (check here if you’re unsure what code to use). Search the Notams using the updated FAA Notam Search site; or if you prefer the old-fashioned version, use this site instead.

2. Check the TravelBans website

Click here. Thank you to the clever person who built this site. Select a country and see all the latest flight restrictions and quarantine rules in a nice, clear format. Saves you from having to find each country’s official website (and trying to translate many of them into English).

3. UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website

Click here. The UK has eyes on the ground pretty much everywhere. Each country has a dedicated page, with a specific section on the coronavirus and the latest restrictions on inbound travel, which gets updated regularly.

4. US Embassy website

Click here. The same goes for the US. If the US has an embassy somewhere, the chances are they will be issuing alerts when there are changes to the travel restrictions there. Click on a country from the list, and then click on the ‘News & Events’ tab for that country, on the top-right side of the page.

5. Australian Government travel guidance

Click here. If the UK and the US both come up empty-handed, Australia might be able to sort you out. They have their own government travel advisory website, which lists inbound travel restrictions. Particularly useful for some of the more out-of-the-way places in the Pacific Islands.

6. Universal blog

Click here. Trip support provider Universal have a page with all the latest coronavirus-related restrictions, with a particular focus on the impact to business aviation. From the main page you can navigate to separate pages for different regions around the world (the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America, Europe, Middle-East & Africa, and Asia-Pacific), and really drill down into the latest restrictions country-by-country. Most of this info comes from Universal’s vast network of local agents at airports around the world, so it’s a bit more pertinent to aviation than the more wide-ranging travel advice issued at government level (i.e. the UK FCO, the US embassies, etc).

6. Opsgroup alerts

For more info on the latest travel and flight restrictions, Opsgroup members can head over to the #george channel in Slack. George is our friendly Ops-Bot. Ask him something, and he’ll dig into the OPSGROUP vault to see what the group knows. He understands a whole load of commands: permits, weather, ICAO codes, airport names, countries, keyword searches. If you’re still stuck for an answer, ask other members in the group in the #questions channel, or shoot us an email and we’ll see what we can dig up.

Travel within the EU

Restrictions on travel within Europe have been gradually easing over the past few months, but it can still be tough trying to work out exactly what each European country’s rules are for inbound travel. Some countries have re-opened their borders to other EU states, while others have only partially reopened to travellers from certain places. Some have quarantines for inbound passengers, some don’t. Some have tried to create closed travel “bubbles” or “corridors” between certain countries.

Fortunately, the EU has created a simple tool for us to check exactly what travel rules are currently in place for each European country – check it out.

Here’s the homepage:

Select a country from the list, a map opens, and hey presto, it will tell you what the restrictions are for travel from another EU country:

Click on the little red globe icon, and it will tell you what the restrictions are for travelling into that country from outside the EU:

There’s a bunch of additional info available through the different tabs and icons – have a play around.

Other resources

All of the above will help you check what the latest restrictions are in different countries. But here are some other useful resources to help you plan your flight:

Opsgroup Covid SuperManual – The team here received 100 or so individual Operations Manuals and Flight Ops Bulletins, and that’s what this ‘Super Manual’ is: a collation of all of the group knowledge and procedures around Covid.

NBAA’s dedicated Covid page – The NBAA has published guidance for operators when planning flights to/from countries affected by the coronavirus (i.e. everywhere). Recommendations include: conducting a risk profile of the intended destination; ensuring you make your travel plans known to the US embassy in the destination country through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program; fueling aircraft immediately after arrival at the destination in case a quick departure is required; plus other suggestions.

Guidance from the FAA, CDC and EASA – “Clean”, “Isolate” and “Monitor” are the buzzwords here.
FAA guidance – here.
CDC guidance – here.
EASA guidance – here.

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David Mumford

David Mumford

Opsgroup team member, Flight Dispatcher. International flight ops news hound.

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