Since 13th March 2020, as a result of measures taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, all flights with a destination of arrival in the Slovak republic were banned. At Košice Airport departures and arrivals of all airlines (Austrian Airlines, Czech Airlines, Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines, Ryanair and Wizz Air) were cancelled.
Following a decision of Slovak government from the 9th June 2020, citizens of the Slovak republic can now travel without restrictions to Austria, Czech republic, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Island.
Taking into consideration lifting some of the measures and gradual opening of the borders of Slovakia, scheduled flights are coming back to Košice Airport after 3 months break.
The first aircraft that landed in Košice post COVID-19 outbreak was ATR-72 of Czech Airlines arriving on the scheduled route from Prague. Its wheels touched the runway on Monday 15th June at 13:45, with 31 passengers on board. The plane departed to Prague at 14:30 with 17 passengers on board. Considering the fact that some passengers may had doubts if this flight will be operated, it is a great result.
Michael Tmej, the CEO and chairman of the management board of Košice Airport said: “We are glad that life is returning to Košice Airport, at least partially. After the 3 months break we warmly welcome Czech Airlines in Košice on their scheduled route from Prague which has been in service since 1924. The first route in the history of Košice Airport is also the first that was restarted after the worst three months ever for the aviation industry. It will be a very long and difficult way towards restoring the traffic to pre-covid levels. However, with strong support of both of our shareholders, in intensive cooperation with our stable airline partners such as Czech Airlines and with enthusiasm of our experienced employees we are well equipped for this journey.”
Ján Tóth, Chief Commercial Officer of Czech Airlines: “Our todays flight Prague – Košice – Prague is another very important step on the journey of gradual restarting of Czech Airlines´ routes. For the time being we will operate this route three times per week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon. The capacity will be gradually increasing and we expect to reach the original level of 13 weekly flights on the 1st September. Thanks to gradual improvements of our connectivity our clients will be able to use also connecting flights from Prague onwards to our European destinations.”
Another airline to return to Košice is Austrian Airlines with their route to Vienna. The first flight is scheduled for 22nd June and the initial frequency is set for 4 weekly flights. Flights from Košice to Vienna will depart on Monday afternoon, on Thursday morning and afternoon and on Saturday morning. From Vienna the planes will depart on Monday afternoon, on Wednesday evening, Thursday afternoon and on Friday evening. The return to original schedule with 13 weekly flights is expected in autumn 2020.
Restart of the flights operated by Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines, Ryanair and Wizz Air is subject to a decision of respective airlines and also of the Slovak government.
The rules for wearing the facemasks at all times onboard are valid for all airlines. Košice Airport recommends to check detailed rules and recommendations of a particular airline before the flight on the airline´s website and also on the website of Košice Airport.
In relation to summer charter season 2020 it is expected that it will be possible to fly from Košice to holiday destinations in Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus with flights operated by Smartwings and Bulgaria Air. Flights to destinations in other countries are subject to approval of Slovak government. More information shall be available shortly.
Following the measures issued by the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak republic Košice Airport was getting ready with a set of new safety and hygienic measures. The goal is to create safe environment for both arriving and departing passengers and also for the employees of the airport.
The set of measures include:
- Only passengers with a facemask covering the mouth and nose are allowed to enter the terminal. All passengers are asked to wear the facemasks at all times both at the airport and during the flight;
- Temperature of both arriving and departing passengers at Košice Airport is monitored by the thermal cameras without limiting the passengers in any way;
- All employees of Košice Airport with direct contact with the passengers are wearing protection equipment (facemasks, gloves, shields), plus there is plexi-glass installed at check-in desks for example;
- Two meter marking – all relevant areas where passengers are standing in a queue are marked accordingly to ensure social distancing wherever possible;
- Hand sanitisers are available for passengers at the entry to the terminal and also at several areas within the terminal. Disinfection of touching points, toilets and other areas of Košice Airport is performed regularly;
- For the total area of 2700 sqm there are 54 hand sanitizers available (one for every 50 sqm). Before the terminal was opened it was disinfected with ozone and this procedure will be performed on a regular basis;
- Air ventilation system was upgraded with new filters which will be replaced in a more intensive way;
- Surfaces are being disinfected on a regular basis also with polymer disinfection, especially door handles and other handles, baggage trolleys etc.;
- Machines working on aerosol basis are turned off (e.g. hand dryers);
- In several areas, incl. check-in desks, gates, terminal entry points, and arrivals hall, information about obligatory wearing of face masks and social distancing is displayed.