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Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on business aviation

PT 7 M minute read

IMPORTANT: The impact of the global COVID-19 epidemic on business aviation is fluid and evolving by the minute. While we do our best to keep this article current by adding additional information once it is received and confirmed, always check with your Universal Trip Support Team and local authorities for the most current information.

We’ve overhauled our coronavirus (COVID-19) business aviation restrictions blog article to make it more user friendly and easier to navigate. Starting today, we will be posting high-level COVID-19 restrictions trends on this page, as well as recent country-level restrictions.

You can still drill down into all country restrictions by accessing the new regional restrictions pages below or using the sidebar navigation to go directly to a specific country of interest.

COVID-19 Restriction Trends

May 30, 2020

The main takeaway for this week is that we’re about to see a lot of changes, and all signs point to more easing.

After that, there’s another block of restrictions coming due around June 15, and many countries have stated their intent to begin reopening at that time. Stay tuned!

As you start thinking about getting back to flying, Our Health and Safety Standards for the ground handlers, caterers, ground transportation providers, and hotels we work with, may prove useful.

Please check with us for any mission you are attempting so that we can verify the very latest.

Recent Regional Restrictions

May 30, 2020

United States

  • Earlier this week, Brazil was added to the restricted regions list.
  • DHS has expanded its funneling airports to 15 – now including Houston (KIAH) and Ft. Lauderdale (KFLL).
  • Hawaii, USVI, Puerto Rico, and parts of Mexico (Los Cabos, Cancun, Cozumel, etc.) are all good options for travelers from the U.S., with some restrictions and/or quarantining at a vacation home/rental.
  • At TIST, the Emerald Beach Hotel is accepting crew, and area restaurants are doing curbside pick and dine-in options.
  • The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and associated travelers utilizing ESTA are unaffected by the April 23 Presidential Proclamation which suspended processing new immigration applications from aliens for 60 days. New applications for signatory carrier status under VWP are still being processed. All U.S.-based operators (including some international companies with U.S. subsidiaries) and non-U.S. commercial operators are eligible to apply. If you are not a signatory carrier and qualify, we recommend you apply to increase your operating flexibility. We can help.

See detailed restrictions for the U.S.


  • Flights from the U.S. are being allowed on a case-by-case basis. Some are getting through without issue; others are getting denied. Canada is very strict on vetting “essential” vs. “non-essential” travel between the U.S. and Canada. Best practice is to gather all relevant documentation (e.g., travel history, medical declarations, purpose of flight, etc.) and seek approval from CANPASS well in advance. Canada is still restricting entry to 4 ports. Consult with us for any planned mission.
  • Prepare for long wait times…It take 30 min+ to get in touch with someone at CANPASS to explain your purpose of flight before getting permission. When you make your 1st initial call to present the details of the flight, it must be no earlier than 48 hours prior and no later than 2 hours prior to departure. CANPASS will determine if your travel is essential or not and will either approve or deny operations into Canada.
  • We actually had an issue this week where a U.S. citizen couldn’t get in to attend a parent’s funeral. CANPASS is scrutinizing every request case-by-case. We were very disappointed with this decision.
  • Note that Canada has very strict quarantine requirements for anyone entering the country. Crew will need to quarantine for length of stay, up to 14 days.

See detailed restrictions for Canada.


  • Non-essential flights are being allowed on an airport-by-airport, case-by-case basis. Most of the usual tourist hotspots are still allowing flights. Check with us before any mission.
  • Some airports have reduced hours.
  • All of our ground handling offices in Mexico (Mexico City/Toluca, Los Cabos, Cancun, Cozumel and outlying stations) remain open and are supporting missions.

See our complete list of restrictions and feasibility insights for Mexico. >


  • Our ground handling office in the Dominican Republic is still open and supporting missions, as allowed by the restrictions.
  • Antigua is planning to reopen TAPA on June 1. Details are supposed to come out today.
  • St. Vincent & Grenadines – Now open to most countries, including the U.S. for leisure flights. 14-day quarantine is required.
  • Trinidad and Tobago – Allowing passengers from some Latin American countries. A 14-day quarantine is required.
  • USVI and Puerto Rico are good options for many U.S. travelers, with some restrictions. At TIST, the Emerald Beach Hotel is accepting crew, and area restaurants are doing curbside pick and dine-in options.

See our complete list of country-by-country restrictions and feasibility insights for the Caribbean. >

Latin America

  • Our FBOs and ground handling offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Venezuela are still operational and supporting missions.

See our complete list of country-by-country restrictions and feasibility insights for Central and South America. >


  • Our FBOs and ground handling offices in Ireland, UK, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey all remain open and are supporting missions.
  • Croatia – Opened to EU citizens for business reasons. Non-EU citizens may be able to enter for business purposes if they obtain prior permission, and they will be subject to a health inspection and/or quarantine.
  • Iceland – The Government of Iceland has also announced that it expects to start easing restrictions on international arrivals no later than June 15th 2020, while from May 15th some professionals arriving in Iceland including scientists, filmmakers and athletes will be eligible for a modified quarantine. Those visiting from within the Schengen Area can also enter now, but they must go into a 2-week quarantine. Tourists visiting Iceland after June 15th 2020 can make a choice: go into an immediate 2-week quarantine, get tested for the coronavirus, or present a clean bill of health from the health authorities in their home countries. Final details on the easing of quarantine requirements for travelers will be announced by the end of May.
  • Ireland – Our FBOs in Shannon (EINN) and Dublin (EIDW) are good overnight options; however, hotel options are limited. Passengers are subject 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
  • Finland – It may be possible to enter Finland for business reasons. Invitation letter from a Finnish company required. Everything is case by case. No leisure flights.
  • France – Re-opening Schengen border for EU Nationals starting June 15.
  • Germany – Still restricting entry.
  • Greece – Authorities are trying to set the stage to open by July 1. Currently, only LGAV is open to flights into the country; however, flights from Italy, Spain, Netherlands, and United Kingdom are prohibited. They are permitting EU citizens, but non-EU persons looking to travel for business will need to be approved from the local Greek Embassy before being able to request a landing permit for Greece. Currently, there is a 14-day quarantine in effect through May 31 published by NOTAM. More information will be advised when new directive is given. Its recommended that each scenario is checked to reconfirm. The government is planning on opening for tourism to EU citizens on June 15.
  • Hungary – Allowing some flights from certain countries for business purposes. Prior approval needed.
  • Italy – Allowing some foreign nationals in if deemed essential travel.
  • Latvia – Arrivals from Schengen region citizens is unrestricted. Other foreign nationals may be permitted into the country, dependent on purpose of flight. 14-day quarantine required.
  • Montenegro – GA flights with maximum 10 passengers are allowed, with advanced notice required. Passengers/Crew have to hold negative PCR (DNA) test on SARS-COV-2 not older than 48h to enter the country.
  • Norway – Restrictions in place until August 20.
  • Poland – Extended existing restrictions to May 31. Some EU citizens may be able to enter.
  • Portugal – Open to non-residents from many countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Temperature check upon arrival. No quarantine on mainland, but there are quarantine requirements on the islands.
  • Serbia – Opened to international passenger flights. Certain countries prohibited. U.S. is not listed as prohibited.
  • Slovenia – Has reopened, but non-EU citizens must complete a 14-day quarantine, air crew excluded. Tourism flights are being allowed.
  • Spain – No changes.
  • Sweden – Extended its restrictions to June 15.
  • Switzerland – Eurocontrol is reporting that it may reopen all travel on June 15.
  • UK – Our FBO in London-Stansted (EGSS) is a good overnight option; however, hotels/rentals are limited. You will need to complete a health declaration in advance stating you and your passengers don’t have symptoms and haven’t been in contact with anyone who has.
  • UK – A 14-day quarantine is in effect starting June 8. Crew must quarantine for length of stay (e.g., 1 night).
  • UK – The GAD (General Aircraft Declaration) requirement in place for all entry to the UK. The FBO should be coordinating this for you.

See our complete list of country-by-country restrictions and feasibility insights for the European region. >

Middle East & Africa

  • Ethiopia – Now open, with a 14 quarantine. Transiting crew are exempt and just need to quarantine for length of stay (1 night). Chemical disinfection of the aircraft is also required.
  • Israel – Our ground handling office in Tel Aviv is still open and supporting missions.
  • Nigeria – A cautionary tale…Check out this story about a UK aircraft that got impounded for breaking protocol.
  • South Sudan – Open.
  • Tanzania – Open. 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Chemical disinfection of the aircraft required.

See our complete list of country-by-country restrictions and feasibility insights for the Africa and Middle East regions. >


  • Our FBOs and ground handling offices in China, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand all remain open and are supporting missions.
  • Cambodia is allowing foreign nationals, in certain instances to enter. It requires a visa through an embassy or government avenue. It also requires medical insurance of $50,000USD and a medical certificate within 72 hours prior to departure. COVID test required on arrival.
  • China – The country is still only open to cargo/humanitarian and repatriation flights.
  • India – Extending restriction to end of the month.
  • S. Korea – Seoul (RKSI) is a great regional tech stop. Crew can RON. Relief crew have to take a COVID test on arrival and wait 8 hours at airport for results. Hotels are limited, and stays longer than one night can be challenging…so plan to have your arrangements confirmed in advance.
  • Maldives – Lockdown will begin easing in June. Resorts and international flights will reopen in July. Universal Aviation Maldives is ready to assist.
  • Taiwan – The ban on foreign national remains in place, with exceptions for residents, diplomats and business travelers. Swab test required if you show symptoms.
  • Thailand – Restrictions in place until June 30th.
  • Vietnam – Will resume issuing visas on July 1 for nationals from 80 different countries. An announcement on when the country will open has yet to be advised.

See our complete list of country-by-country restrictions and feasibility insights for the Asia-Pacific region. >

Additional Resources

Visit your country’s local health department. Other resources to check include:

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