Europe: Where can I fly with vaccinated pax?

By David Mumford


Many European countries are now open to fully vaccinated passengers with no requirement to quarantine on arrival: France, Spain, Germany, Iceland, Croatia, Greece, Turkey plus others. More are expected to announce reopening throughout June/July.

In May, EU member states agreed to begin the process of reopening to fully vaccinated travelers, but now it’s up to each country to implement their own specific rules and dates for this.

The EU has also revamped their online tool which makes it super easy to work out what the rules are for each country, depending on where you’re flying in from. Give it a try!

The EU has also implemented a system to allow member states to issue digital Covid passports to their citizens proving their status and freeing them up to travel. You might have seen these referred to as “Green Passports”, but they’re actually called EU Digital Covid Certificates.

These essentially mean free movement for people who are fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid, or who have a negative test result. Currently these are only operational in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland, but the EU plans for the system to be in use in all countries by July 1. They want to make them available to visitors from outside the bloc too, but the challenge is getting national authorities in those states to provide secure vaccination documents.

Crew rules

This is where it starts to get tricky. Working out the rules for passengers is hard enough (to do that, check here), but finding the specific rules surrounding crew entry and testing requirements for each European country is often extremely challenging.

Operating crew will always be able to enter a country for crew rest – we haven’t seen any countries in Europe not doing this. But there will be more rules and requirements to consider depending on the specific country you’re flying in to:

  • There might be a requirement to provide a negative Covid test, depending on where you’ve travelled to recently, and how long you’ll be staying for (Germany).
  • You may have to isolate whilst on layover (the UK).
  • You might be exempt from both testing and quarantine if you’re vaccinated (Portugal).
  • You might even be exempt from all requirements simply because you’re crew (Netherlands) – or as long as you fill in an exemption form (France).

It’s also worth noting that countries are applying slightly different definitions to what ‘operating crew’ means. If you are a Part 135 for example, and don’t have a schedule (and are positioning out for a duty) you might find some countries treat you as a passenger, not as crew.

So, it can be tough to work out what the rules are. If you’re struggling, try these steps (not necessarily in this order!):

  1. Check the Notams. Yep, never thought we’d say it. These often have the crew rules laid out pretty clearly. 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 (#better) version, use this site instead.
  2. Ask a local handler. If you’re headed to Greece, find the email address for a local FBO at any of the main airports, and ask them what the crew rules are. If they don’t know the answer, no one will. There are some good websites which list this contact info: Acukwik, Flock, Business Air News Handbook, to name but a few.
  3. Ask OPSGROUP. For 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.

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David Mumford

David Mumford

News editor, notam sifter, airspace monitor, map maker, and general purveyor of operationally useful flight ops information.

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