Argentina to restart international flights, some tourism after ban

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Argentina will resume commercial international flights from November and allow tourists to enter from bordering countries, the government said on Friday, as it aims to lift coronavirus restrictions after one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.

Since April, most air traffic has been grounded, with the exception of special outgoing flights for residents and citizens of specified countries, including the United States, and incoming flights for Argentines.

The government extended the lockdown, including the flight ban, several times, prompting criticism from the Airline industry group IATA.

In its official bulletin on Friday, Argentina said regular international commercial flights for all airlines that operate in Argentina will resume. Only Argentina’s citizens and residents and tourists from neighboring countries will be allowed to enter.

Those tourists will be allowed into Buenos Aires under a health protocol that includes a negative test for the new coronavirus before the flight and travelers must submit a sworn statement that they are free of symptoms.

“It is appropriate to promote the resumption of international flights on a regular basis in favor of airlines that operate to and from our country, to give certainty and predictability to both passengers and operations, strictly respecting entry restrictions into the country,” the resolution by the Ministry of Transportation said.

Argentina has suffered more than 30,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 1.1 million infections. Cases have continued to rise as the government eases restrictions after months of quarantine and economic shutdown. (Reporting by Cassandra Garrison and Eliana Raszewski; editing by Barbara Lewis)