Portuguese authorities have announced that as of December 1st, airlines that transport passengers without a valid Covid-19 test would incur a fine of up to 20,000 euros. After the Council of Ministers meeting last week, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said that airlines carrying passengers without a negative test to Covid-19 would incur fines of 20,000 euros per person, and could even lose their license to fly in the territory. “It is the obligation of all airlines, at the time of check-in, to allow the boarding of people who prove to be properly tested.”
In addition, he stressed: “We have found that, unfortunately, the airlines have not complied with their obligation and therefore we have changed the framework of administrative offenses and will now apply a fine of 20,000 euros for each passenger who is disembarked in Portuguese territory without being properly tested”.
The Association of Portuguese Airlines (RENA) has told Portuguese media that it considers intolerable the increase. “The sanctioning framework is already adequate and dissuasive enough. The airlines are already complying. Currently, the fines are 2,000 euros per passenger, so the new sanctions is intolerable and absurd,” criticized the executive director of the RENA, António Moura Portugal.
For the RENA, it is convenient to separate the two issues: The border control measures and the requirements that the government places on airlines. “We have doubts about the legality of this measure. Six months ago, the Portuguese Presidency chose the digital certificate as a flag of achievement. It is a good measure, but we are perplexed with the new decision.”
The executive director of the RENA, questioned the increase in the fine. “It’s not for the test or the virus, but for not complying with a State verification,” he said. “It is an unfounded statement and it is a qualifier that the airlines do not accept,” warned the official, although he said that the RENA is waiting for an endorsed position from the association.
The new measures also contemplate a tighter control on the arrival of passengers with the hiring of private security companies that will check if all passengers have tests.
In addition, it was also mentioned that if people infected with the new coronavirus are detected, they will stay in reserved areas, to be created, and that the accommodation and food expenses will be paid by the companies. Moura Portugal has warned that these are “inspection tasks to be conducted by people who were not hired and trained to do so.”