Chairman’s Note: COVID & Bright Spots for American Travelers
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope you and your families have continued to remain safe and healthy during what continues to be an unprecedented time for our country and for the world.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve all heard non-stop about all the places we CAN’T fly… So I felt moved to focus on where we CAN!
Europe – not as off-limits as we’ve been led to believe…
We were all disappointed when Europe’s initial “safe list” did not include the United States. Many interpreted that to mean any summer plans they had in Europe, for business and otherwise, were automatically a no-go.
Contrary to popular opinion, that’s not necessarily the case.
NOTE: The European Commission “safe list” is merely a recommendation and not binding by law. That means that each country is interpreting and applying it individually with wide variances among EU member countries.
Proven options to access the Mediterranean
- Some countries, like Turkey, are WIDE OPEN. Not just to Americans but any nationality. No quarantine required. Our Universal AviationTurkey team has seen a huge uptick in flights in recent weeks, as operators from around the globe are entering Turkey to access the Mediterranean.
- But Turkey is not the only way in. Croatia is open for work and leisure. Our Universal Aviation Italyteam has supported numerous flights from foreign nationals.
- Foreign nationals (including Americans) can also enter Nice and Toulon via the UK or another Schengen country. We’ve had multiple clients successfully do this. Essentially, they fly to the UK, which is open, have their passport stamped, and then proceed to Nice/Toulon. We recommend our Air2Ground concierge agents in both London and Nice (also available around Europe), positioned on the ground as an extension of our Trip Support teams to ensure everything is seamless.
- As you are considering your options for accessing the Mediterranean, our new Universal Aviation website is good resource for touring our locations across the Med and connecting with our regional teams for support and advice.
Be prepared to state your case
You likely saw the recent story making headlines about a private flight from Colorado being denied entry into Italy. What is overlooked about this flight is the fact that the Italian authorities tried to make it work – even though the flight had clearly not done its homework before departure. Although the flight was ultimately denied, the simple fact that there was even a discussion is a positive sign, considering how ill-prepared the mission was. It demonstrates the authorities are willing to talk. Have your ducks in a row, and there is a chance you can get in.
Regarding purely business travel, many countries in the EU and elsewhere are allowing “business“ flights in, even though they remain technically “closed.” If you can demonstrate a legitimate business need to enter the country, you may be able to get in. Our teams are very good at working with the authorities on this and have had some success.
The key is being prepared. This means keeping a detailed travel log, health history, a negative COVID test, and having sponsor letters from your local business contact.
So where can you fly?
Some of the other EU countries currently open include Belarus, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Croatia, Demark, Ireland, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and the UK. Check with us for details, as each has slightly different requirements for negative tests and quarantines. This list is changing daily, so check with your team for the latest.
Outside of Europe, Mexico and many of the Caribbean islands continue to be popular accessible destinations. Other resort destinations like the Seychelles, Maldives, Egypt’s Med Coast, are gradually re-opening for leisure.
I anticipate the overall trend of re-openings to continue throughout the summer with fits and starts, as countries react to various global hotspots.
Do your homework
I said before that just because a country is closed, doesn’t mean there are no options to get in. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s imperative to remember that just because a country is “open” it’s going to be a routine mission.
If the pandemic has proven anything in bizav, it’s that there are no routine missions. Even domestic flights between U.S. States are now fraught with challenges we could never have imagined as we rang in the New Year.
But that’s what we’re here for! Have an upcoming mission but not sure if it’s feasible? Let us know, and we’ll give you the full rundown on what you likely can and can’t achieve.
Unfortunately, with COVID looking like it’s here to stay for a while, we all need to get creative to keep business aviation moving!
Looking forward to safely supporting your next mission.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.