Does France’s COVID Lockdown Impact Air Travel Restrictions?
After France announced that the country would be entering another four-week lockdown to help quell the rapidly rising number of COVID infections, images of Parisians fleeing the city made international news.
Traffic jams reportedly as long as 400+ kilometers extended from Paris, as Parisians hightailed to the countryside.
Since the new lockdown was announced, we’ve received numerous questions about how it will impact business aviation travel to the country.
Here’s what we know as of the publication date of this article.
When does France’s COVID lockdown begin and end?
The new four-week French lockdown officially began October 30, 2020 and is scheduled to be in effect at least four weeks.
What movement is allowed during France’s COVID lockdown?
Per France’s government website, the following restrictions will be in place throughout the lockdown.
- You may only leave your residency in the following circumstances and with an exemption certificate;
- Commuting to and from work, school or training place; carrying out essential business trips that cannot be postponed; sitting exams;
- The purchase of professional supplies or basic commodities, or collecting an order;
- Medical appointments that cannot be carried out remotely or postponed;
- Essential family reasons, assisting vulnerable persons, persons in a precarious situation or taking care of children;
- Persons with a disability and their accompanying person
- Individual outdoor exercise, walks with members of your household only or with pets, within 1 km of your residence and for no longer than one hour;
- Judicial or administrative summons; appointments for a public service;
- Participating in a mission of general interest upon request from an administrative authority
- Taking children to and from school or after-school activities.
France is also locking down non-essential businesses for November (restaurants, bars, theaters, leisure hotel stays).
How does the lockdown impact business aviation travel to France?
As of now, there are no changes to France’s international travel restrictions. The same rules that applied before the lockdown are still in effect. Internal European borders will remain open but external borders are closed except for essential travel. Travelers will require a COVID test unless they are arriving from one of the following countries/regions: Member States of the European Union + Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marion, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican, Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, and Singapore.
One important thing to note is that once you’re in France, you won’t be able to move about to different parts of the country. This French Diplomatic website has a good set of FAQs to review regarding the lockdown and entering France.
How can a U.S. citizen currently enter France?
There are two primary avenues for entering France.
- Corridor Access – France’s NOTAM is departure-based and not nationality-based. This significantly opens up access to third-country nationals (including U.S. citizens). As long as the aircraft first clears in another Schengen country or the UK before proceeding to France, third country nationals can enter France. We’ve managed a good number of flight through the UK-France corridor – coordinating between our Universal Aviation FBO in Stansted and Universal Aviation FBO in Paris to make these flights happen. Despite the UK quarantine restrictions on France, this corridor is still open! A public Health Passenger Locator Form and Sworn Statement on the absence of COVID symptoms form, ane exemption certificate during lockdown must be completed and provided to borer police on arrival.
- Direct Access – U.S. passengers traveling directly to France must present a permit issued by the French Embassy or General French Consulate to enter French territory. COVID testing 72 hours prior to arrival for everyone on board, including crew, required in addition to all the required forms for corridor travel.
France’s new four-week lockdown has severe movement restrictions and business closures, however, it does not, as of now, change the requirements for entering the country. Operators considering a mission in France should have a plan not just for entering the country but what they will do while there with the restrictions in mind. If you have an essential business reason to enter France and need support, contact us online, and we’ll provide an estimate for support.