Finnair will restart regular passenger flights between Finland and the UK and Ireland on Monday.
The move follows a decision on Friday evening by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), which said it would not extend restrictions on air services from the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. The restrictions expire at noon on Monday. Traficom's ruling was based an opinion issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
According to the THL, travellers arriving from the UK, Ireland and South Africa continue to pose a significant risk regarding the spread of new coronavirus mutations. However, it said that health security measures have been strengthened substantially at Finnish airports, making it possible to effectively mitigate travel-related risks.
The decision came on the same evening when the Finnish government tightened entry restrictions for workers and others from other EU countries, including neighbouring Estonia and Sweden.
Negative tests required as of Thursday
Finnair has flown a handful of one-way flights from Helsinki to London, Manchester and Edinburgh in the past week. The national airline also flies to Dublin, Ireland.
In a tweet, the national airline said it will require a negative Covid-19 test certificate of all passengers on all flights to Finland beginning on Thursday 28 January.
"This requirement complements our other comprehensive measures both onboard and at airports to ensure safe travel during the pandemic. This is also in line with the increasing trend of countries requiring a negative test result for entry," said Finnair's Chief Operating Officer, Jaakko Schildt.
The THL meanwhile requires all travellers arriving from the three countries to undergo a health examination on arrival and to quarantine for 14 days, which ends if they can provide two negative Covid-19 test results.
In a travel advisory updated on Thursday, the Finnish Foreign Ministry urged people to avoid all travel to the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa, citing a THL recommendation.
For all other countries, the ministry advises people to avoid all but essential travel.
17:10 Added Foreign Ministry advisory from Thursday.