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Helsinki Airport no longer checking all arrivals' vaccination documents

Vantaa's mayor said that "the change was necessary to alleviate chaos at the airport".

Covid-19 -testauksesta kertova kyltti sekä korona-ohjeita Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä.
Passenger volumes at Helsinki Airport are set to double by the end of the year (file photo). Image: Lehtikuva
Yle News

Helsinki Airport has set up a so-called 'green line' to expedite processing of fully vaccinated travellers as air traffic begins to return to normal.

Ritva Viljanen, Mayor of Vantaa, where the airport is located, said on Sunday that the express line has been created for fully vaccinated people, who make up 80-90 percent of all passengers. Viljanen said that for these travellers, Covid certificates will only be checked randomly.

In a tweet on Sunday, the mayor said that "the change was necessary to alleviate chaos at the airport", adding that "now there will no longer be huge queuing situations".

On Thursday, Viljanen strongly criticised the government's decision to continue Covid-related border restrictions until the end of the year.

Like Customs authorities' "nothing-to-declare" green lines, the express line's use is largely based on the honour system, though spot checks are always possible.

Until now, international passengers' Covid certificates have been checked at Helsinki Airport upon departure, at check-in, and again upon arrival.

Finavia: Comprehensive screening no longer possible

In a statement last week, airport operator Finavia said that comprehensive screening would become impossible as passenger numbers increase. Passenger volumes are projected to double between now and the end of the year.

"When the vaccination coverage in Finland is already at a good level and the majority of newcomers are vaccinated, comprehensive screening activities are no longer justified from the point of view of epidemic management," the former civil aviation authority said.

The cities of Helsinki and Vantaa have teamed up with the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS) to create a model for random checks on passengers within the framework of current legislation.

Finavia noted that elsewhere in Europe, the verification of Covid certificates is primarily the responsibility of travel operators, and that certificates are no longer routinely checked at borders.

"The certificates of passengers arriving at the airport have, for the most part, already been checked once by the travel operators, and, in any case, the majority already have full vaccination protection," Finavia said.

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