Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to organise a special flight from the UK

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on 23 December agreed on organising a special flight for those citizens of the Baltic states who urgently need to return to their homeland from the United Kingdom; regular flights from the UK to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be suspended at least until the end of 2020.

Due to the spread of a new coronavirus type in the United Kingdom, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have suspended the air traffic with the UK; Estonia made the decision on 20 December.

The Estonian government plans to approve additional self-isolation rules for people arriving from the United Kingdom. The required period of isolation will be 14 days instead of 10.

“Passengers arriving from the United Kingdom will also be obligated to remain in isolation for seven days after their first negative COVID-19 test, and then take another test. If the second test is also negative, they can return to work for essential duties,” the Estonian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The restriction on flights between Estonia and the United Kingdom remains in force until 31 December 2020, the ministry added.

The foreign ministry is asking all Estonians who are currently in the United Kingdom and wish to return to Estonia to contact airlines and travel agents to find an option for returning.

No guarantee that restrictions will be cancelled

“When travelling back to Estonia, make sure to be informed about the rules and restrictions in force in the countries you are transiting.”

The special flight will take those who urgently need to return at a time when there are no regular flights from London to Riga, according to the foreign ministry.

“The special flight is not intended for short-stay travellers coming to Estonia; instead, it is for people who permanently reside in Estonia,” the ministry said, adding that the flight is to depart from London on 28 December at 5:30 PM.

“You need to purchase a ticket for the flight and, as the flight lands in Riga, another ticket to continue on to Tallinn. The number of seats is limited. Priority will be given to critical passengers who have registered on the Reisi targalt website, ie unaccompanied minors, families with small children and people aged 65 or older.”

The foreign ministry has begun mapping Estonians in the United Kingdom in need of assistance.

“We would like to ask all Estonian citizens staying (temporarily) in the United Kingdom who urgently need to return to Estonia before 1 January to register on the Reisi Targalt website during 23 December 2020.”

“However, we would like to highlight that we cannot guarantee a flight back from the United Kingdom to Estonia before 1 January. We would like to ask everyone wishing to return to Estonia to continue parallel efforts to find travel options independently.”

Estonians residing in the United Kingdom and wishing to return to Estonia should be advised there is no guarantee that travel restrictions will be cancelled, that regular air traffic will resume and that it will be possible to return in the immediate future, the Estonian foreign ministry cautioned.

Cover: A Latvian-owned airBaltic jet will be used to bring Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian citizens, stranded in the UK, home.

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