Colombia Travel Ban Extended Through August 31
Last month, Argentina announced the strictest travel measures in Latin America when it blocked the sale of commercials flights through September 1, 2020. Now, Colombia announced its own travel ban extension through summer. On Wednesday, the country announced the extension of its travel ban through August 31, 2020. However, unlike Argentina’s ban that also included domestic flights, Colombia’s ban only includes international flights.
Originally, the Colombia travel ban was set to expire at the end of June. But Colombia’s Transport Minister, Angela Maria Orozco, announced the extension in a radio interview. Orozco said, “Until Aug 31 we do not expect to resume international air travel or to reopen land borders.”
Of course, the news is very bad for the nation’s largest air carrier, Avianca. Last week, Avianca filed for bankruptcy in the United States. The airline said that it was not informed of the travel ban before it was announced. Avianca planned to begin international flights again in June. In 2019, Avianca was the third largest airline in Latin America, according to CNN. During normal operations, the airline flies 6,000 weekly flights to 108 destinations in 26 countries.
The initial reaction to the government’s announcement was minimal. But over the coming days, industry leaders will likely speak out against the measure. After the Argentinian government announced the ban last month, aviation experts across the region criticized the move. Reports last week detailed discussion between the government and industry leaders to remove the travel ban before September 1. However, the government said it was merely in talks and did not suggest any major announcement was imminent.
Coronavirus in Colombia
As of Thursday morning, Colombia had 17,687 coronavirus cases and 630 deaths. A recent report claimed Colombia’s government needed to do more in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The comparative study of coronavirus responses said the government needed to focus on social distancing, increase testing, and encourage people to wear face masks. Some leaders in the country warned that the nation is planning to reopen before the virus is under control.
The Colombia travel ban is extended through August, according to the Colombian government. The ban will include all international travel, but domestic flights will continue. The move blindsided the nation’s largest national carrier, Avianca. This, coupled with the fact President Donald Trump announced consideration for a travel ban on Brazil, means it could be some time before tourism to South America picks up again.