Italy to close Rome’s Ciampino airport and close terminal at Fiumicino

Rome's Ciampino airport will close on Friday and a terminal at the city's Fiumicino airport will also close, authorities announced on Thursday as Italy desperately tries to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy to close Rome's Ciampino airport and close terminal at Fiumicino

The passenger terminal for scheduled flights at Ciampino, where low-cost airlines like Ryanair operate out of, will be closed from Saturday 14 March   

From Tuesday 17 March, Terminal 1 will be temporarily closed at Fiumicino airport. All check-in operations, security checks and baggage reclaim will be carried out at Terminal 3 which remains operational.

“The decision has become necessary due to the multiple flight cancellations to and from Italy announced by many airlines that normally operate at both Rome airports,” said airport authority Aeroporti di Roma.

The statement continued: “However, General Aviation activities, State Authority and cargo aviation activities will remain unchanged. The runways at both airports will remain fully accessible and will not undergo operational changes.

“The passenger terminals at Fiumicino and Ciampino airports will resume normal operations as soon as the current state of emergency is over.”




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Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the latest Covid situation in China - so could this mark the return of vaccine passports and travel restrictions?

Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Several EU countries including France, Italy and Spain (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) have already imposed travel restrictions on arrivals from China, over fears of new variants of Covid-19.

The countries announced their restrictions – mostly amounting to compulsory tests and masks – on a unilateral basis at the end of last week, but there have been calls for greater co-ordination at an EU level.

There is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures, with an insider telling Politico: “The idea is to harmonise, but without being extremely prescriptive.”

The meeting has been called by Sweden, which now holds the rotating presidency of the EU. 

So what measures are likely?

At present the countries that have announced restrictions have only imposed testing and mask rules – there is no requirement to show proof of vaccination and no travel bans. All measures only apply only to travellers from China.

A meeting of the European Health Safety Committee last Thursday did not produce any concrete measures, with EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides merely urging member states to coordinate quickly. It was after this that some countries announced their own restrictions.

If anything more concrete comes out of Wednesday’s meeting, it is likely to refer to testing or mask rules only and like the previous EU Covid travel policies, will be advisory for countries to follow.

Because borders are a national competence, countries can impose their own measures without having to consult the EU.

Despite the introduction of the EU digital vaccine passport, countries never managed to entirely co-ordinate their travel rules during 2020 and 2021.

In most EU countries the health pass or vaccine pass apps remain active, and could be used again if necessary. 

Will there be travel bans?

At this stage more draconian restrictions – such as the ‘red lists’ or ‘essential travel only’ rules of 2021 seem unlikely.

Most EU countries have a high level of vaccine cover, so would probably only resort to travel restrictions if new variants – against which current Covid vaccines are not effective – emergence in China (or any other country).