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Spain reduces validity of antigen tests for travellers from 48 to 24 hours 

From February 1st, people travelling to Spain who need to take a Covid-19 test to enter the country will have to get tested within 24 hours before their arrival in the country rather than 48 hours if they choose an antigen test. 

antigen tests spain travellers
Even though travellers using an antigen test for travel to Spain now have to get tested within 24 hours before travel, the rule for PCR tests remains 72 hours. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Spanish health authorities have decided that international arrivals who get tested for Covid-19 via an antigen test in order to travel to Spain will have a shorter window of time in which to get tested.

This currently includes unvaccinated travellers from EU/EEA nations as well as Spanish residents and nationals who haven’t had any Covid-19 vaccine doses, and several third-country categories relating to essential travel. Unvaccinated travellers from the majority of non-EU/EEA countries cannot visit Spain.

Up until now, Spain’s rules regarding negative antigen tests required travellers to get tested within 48 hours before arriving in Spain. 

But from Tuesday February 1st 2022, “only negative Covid tests obtained within the 24 hours prior to arrival in Spain will be considered valid and provided that they are tests included in the list common rapid antigen detection test for Covid-19, published by the European Commission and based on Council Recommendation 2021/C 24/01″, explains Spain’s Health Ministry in a statement.

You can find detailed information about these EU-approved tests published by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Products here and the EU Monitor here, but buying an antigen test from a reputable pharmacy or an airport testing point should ensure these standards are met. 

If the antigen test has a CE marking, it meets the minimum performance requirements of ≥ 90 percent sensitivity and ≥ 97 percent specificity and has been validated by at least one Member State, it will be accepted by Spanish border authorities.

The Covid certificate which shows your negative antigen test has to include the date of the test for it to be accepted by border officials. All international arrivals in Spain also have to fill in a health control form before visiting Spain. 

NAAT or PCR tests are also accepted for travel to Spain and Spanish authorities will continue to consider them as valid negative tests that have been obtained 72 hours before arrival in Spain.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Spain’s summer strike calendar: The days you might want to avoid flying

Following the announcement that Ryanair and EasyJet staff have added further strike days in July 2022, we list the dates that travellers looking to fly to and from Spain may want to avoid booking tickets for.

Spain's summer strike calendar: The days you might want to avoid flying

Strike action by Spain-based cabin crew working for Ryanair and EasyJet will continue throughout the month of July, unions representing staff for Europe’s two biggest low-cost airlines have confirmed.

EasyJet’s strike days in July will continue as initially announced on June 21st.

In Ryanair’s case, the six-day stoppage was meant to come to an end on Saturday July 2nd, but a further 12 days of strikes have been added throughout the month of July due to the failure to reach an agreement over cabin crew’s low pay and work conditions. 

“After six days of strike and in view of the unwillingness of the company to listen to its staff and its preference for leaving thousands of passengers grounded rather than sitting down to negotiate an agreement under Spanish law, we have been forced to call new strike days,” USO unionist Lidia Arasanz said with regard to the 1,900 Ryanair employees they represent.

So far, the stoppages by Ryanair and Easyjet staff have not meant that absolutely all their flights to and from Spain have been cancelled, but dozens of scheduled flights have indeed not taken off and hundreds more have suffered delays on these previous strike days. 

Minimum services have been provided for flights within the Spanish mainland and to and from the Canary and Balearic Islands, especially those leaving from Madrid, Málaga, Barcelona, ​​Alicante, Seville, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Girona, Santiago de Compostela and Ibiza airports.

A Ryanair cabin crew member holds a placard reading “Ryanair, low salaries made simple” as she protests at Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona on June 24, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

For international flights the situation is more complicated, especially for Ryanair passengers with scheduled flights from Belgium, Italy, France and Portugal, as the low-cost airline’s cabin crew in those countries have also joined the strikes.

Even though UK-based Ryanair and EasyJet staff are not on strike, the sheer number of flights between Spain and the UK has meant that thousands of British holidaymakers have already been affected.

Málaga, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca’s airports have reportedly been the most affected by Ryanair and EasyJet flight cancellations thus far.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Many EasyJet and Ryanair passengers who have already booked flights to and from Spain for July will no doubt want to know with plenty of notice if their flight will be cancelled, something that is not possible to know in most cases until the airline emails or texts them.

Ryanair’s management has said it expects “minimal (if any) disruption to its flight schedules in July as a result of minor and poorly- supported Spanish labour strikes”, although if what’s happened over the course of late June and early July is anything to go by, that won’t necessarily be the case.

The Irish carrier did acknowledge that “air traffic control strikes and airport staff shortages across Europe (which are beyond Ryanair’s control) may however cause some minor disruption and passengers whose flights are disrupted will be notified by email/SMS”.

It is possible to use Ryanair’s flight tracker to check on the status of your upcoming flight, but you’re unlikely to get accurate information if done lots of days in advance.

Dozens of EasyJet flights have been cancelled so far, even though the airline’s management says it intends to operate all of them. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

EasyJet has also said it intends to operate all its scheduled flights in July, whilst acknowledging that there could be some delays and other disruptions. 

On Sunday July 3rd, eight EasyJet flights to and from Spain were cancelled and 46 were delayed.

On Tuesday July 5th, EasyJet’s chief operating officer Peter Bellew resigned, allegedly “to pursue other business opportunities”, news which certainly suggests that all is not well at the Luton-headquartered airline.

You can also use EasyJet’s flight tracker here to find out if your flight is going ahead

For those of you who have booked a Ryanair or Easyjet flight to and/or from Spain for July, or those who are considering doing so, the following is a breakdown of all the scheduled strike days by cabin crew for both airlines for the coming weeks.

Ryanair strike days 

Tuesday July 12th

Wednesday July 13th

Thursday July 14th

Friday July 15th

Monday July 18th

Tuesday July 19th

Wednesday July 20th

Thursday July 21st

Monday July 25th

Tuesday July 26th

Wednesday July 27th

Thursday July 28th

Easyjet strike days

Friday July 15th

Saturday July 16th

Sunday July 17th

Friday July 29th

Saturday July 30th

Sunday July 31st

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