After initially saying that it would suspend all long-haul flights, KLM announced it has established coronavirus protocols that will allow it to continue operating its international routes.
“KLM has developed a safe alternative testing protocol for crews leaving the airport in countries that are not on the governmental list of safe countries. This includes an alternative whereby, among other things, the rapid antigen test for this crew will be arranged at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol before departing from and after returning to the Netherlands,” the airline said in a statement.
“In addition, there are local safety guidelines at the destinations. The government has indicated that this protocol meets the requirements.”
Among the entry requirements for the Netherlands are:
- A negative PCR test requirement from a sample taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands.
- A negative rapid test done shortly before departure.
- Self-quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the Netherlands.
Some 130 labs in Costa Rica offer PCR coronavirus tests with turnaround times under 48 hours. However, fewer locations in Costa Rica provide rapid antigen tests, forcing KLM to consider other options for passengers.
KLM told El Financiero that it will rebook passengers from Costa Rica on alternate flights so that travelers can obtain the antigen test elsewhere in Europe before entering the Netherlands.
“Unfortunately, so far it has not been possible to implement a process that facilitates antigen testing four hours before boarding, so KLM will not be able to take travelers from Costa Rica to the Netherlands until passengers can present negative results for both as required by the Dutch authorities,” Catalina Vergara, KLM spokesperson, told El Financiero.
The Dutch airline flies to both of Costa Rica’s international airports from Amsterdam. Some 35,000 people visited Costa Rica from the Netherlands in 2019.