Spain drops testing requirements for non-EU travellers

 Friday, October 21, 2022 


Starting October 21st, Spain has dropped entry requirements for anyone travelling to the country, irrespective of their origin. Let’s look closely at this story.

And last but not least: Spain

The time of health forms and COVID-19 tests required by airlines before boarding a flight is slightly coming to an end.

Today, Spain joins the other European countries in dropping all entry requirements for air travellers, irrespective of their country of origin.

With the recent addition of Spain, Europe is again fully open to visitors from all over the world.

Indeed, before today’s new rules, Spain was the only country in Europe where unvaccinated passengers flying from outside the European Union still needed testing before entering the country.

Today’s change comes nearly a month after Spain dropped the requirement to present a health form requirement to the border authorities.

However, Spain still requires the use of face masks on public transport. Consequently, those flying to Spain should still have face coverings on their pre-departure checklist.

Spain: a tourism champion

Today’s changes come as a relief for a country whose economy heavily relies on tourism. Indeed, in 2019, 125 million tourists visited Spain.

Even with COVID-19 travel requirements still in place, the number of tourists this year will almost reach 2019 levels. However, by lifting all entry requirements, numbers are expected to go even higher.

As can be seen in the graph below, total capacity to Spain progressively increased every year since 2015 until the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, when it suffered a 59% reduction.

Although total capacity only marginally improved in 2021, 2022 will witness a substantial recovery of Spain’s aviation industry, with total capacity increasing by 42% compared to 2021.

However, 2022 will still not reach 2019 levels, with capacity still down 8% compared to the pre-pandemic year.

According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), before the COVID-19 outbreak, the low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR) was the airline deploying the most seats to Spain, with a total of 27 million.

The Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) was followed by the Spanish budget airline Vueling (VY), which is part of the IAG Group. Iberia (IB), Spain’s national carrier, placed third, with 12 million seats offered to Spain.

In 2022, the ranking will remain the same, with the two LCCs leading the Spanish aviation industry.

Spain’s flag carrier, Iberia, offers the most capacity, as measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs), from its hub in Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD).

In 2022, Iberia will deploy 6 billion ASKs from its main hub, followed by Barcelona El Prat (BCN), with 611 million ASKs. In 2022, the third busiest airport for Iberia in Spain will be A Coruña (LCG), with 104 million ASKs.

In continental Europe, the busiest destinations in 2022 will be London Gatwick Airport (LGW), with a total of 6.5 billion ASKs, followed by Manchester (MAN), with 6.2 billion ASKs.

Being the first two European destinations in the UK, where travellers were still subject to COVID-19 restrictions when flying to Spain, lifting the COVID-19 entry requirements will most likely impact the traffic flows between the two countries.

Outside the European continent, the most seats in 2022 are offered to Bogota (BOG), with 626 thousand seats, followed by Mexico City (MEX) and New York (JFK) airport.

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