Romania’s transport minister says fewer than 2,000 passengers caught flights from Romanian airports after restrictions were partially lifted, compared to the daily average of 65,000 pre-pandemic.
The figure for Monday flights is 33 times lower than before the virus outbreak. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the aviation industry harder globally than most other sectors.
Lucian Bode said passengers took 20 flights from Romanian airports following a two-month strict lockdown, when many commercial flights were suspended.
“Over 95% of the flights were canceled. Last year, the daily average of passengers on all Romanian airports was 65,000. Today, we carried 1,797,” he told Digi24 late Monday.
The first flights departed for Iasi, Cluj, and Timişoara. Flights to and from countries with high numbers of cases remain suspended for 14 days. Authorities will review the situation on June 1 when more flights are expected to resume.
Despite the lack of commercial flights, Bode said charters flights were available for seasonal workers who work abroad as farmhands and care workers.
Flights have been suspended to Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK, but there are flights to the Greek capital, Athens, and Norwegian capital, Oslo, which have fewer infections.
Other travel was also hit by the lockdown. During the state of emergency, some 63,000 passengers used the Bucharest subway, a tenth of the pre-pandemic figure of between 600,000 to 650,000 he said.
On May 15, when the state of emergency was lifted, 140,000 people rode the capital’s subway.
Bode said 320 security agents, police officers, gendarmes, and local police officers were deployed to supervise the 53-station system.
He said passengers followed rules such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, and no incidents were reported. The average waiting time is 8-10 minutes, he said, longer than before the pandemic.