Austria’s easing of border restrictions leads to chaos at Vienna airport

Austria's easing of border restrictions leads to chaos at Vienna airport
People arriving at Vienna Airport complained of crowds and queues at the border (Michael Maccabez)
Austria's easing of border restrictions has led to chaos at Vienna airport as well as long tailbacks or cars at land border crossings.

Austria’s border opening has resulted in passengers complaining of being crushed and experiencing “hell” at Vienna’s Schwechat airport.

Elsewhere there has also been delays at Austria’s road borders due to the increased number of people travelling and the corresponding checks.

The quarantine requirement has been lifted for people crossing the border into Austria, but visitors must show they have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative for the coronavirus. 

The Ministry of Health responded to the reports of airport queues on Wednesday with a new decree, effective immediately. This means that the Bruck an der Leitha district authority now has the option of only carrying out random checks at the airport if there are long queues.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: The new rules for entering Austria

Schwechat Airport spokesman Peter Kleemann told broadcaster ORF on Wednesday that the “crush” at the weekend was not a permanent problem, but would be resolved once the EU’s internationally valid “green pass” is introduced – this is expected to happen by July. 

READ MORE: What’s the latest on the EU covid passports and how will they work in practice?

Spot checks do not apply to “risk countries”

Passengers from risk countries, currently defined as Brazil, India, South Africa and the UK,  still have to be checked in full. However, for all other countries random checks are now sufficient, for example for passengers who want to travel from Germany.

Roads also busy at border crossings

The roads were also crowded last Friday, with queuing traffic at the border points at Walserberg (A8 / A1), the Karawanken tunnel (A11), Spielfeld (A9) and Nickelsdorf (A4). 

The Salzburg-Walserberg border crossings on the A1 and the crossing on the B1 were also affected as well as the Kufstein-Kiefersfelden motorway border crossing in Tyrol, which is becoming a bottleneck for crossing the border from or to Germany.

In Styria, there were also long waiting times at the Spielfeld border, and last Friday it took more than an hour to enter Austria at the border crossings of Kittsee, Berg, Drasenhofen and Kleinhaugsdorf.

Border controls lifted with Czech Republic and Slovakia

Austria lifted temporary reintroduction of border controls with the Czech Republic and Slovakia last Saturday. 


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