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April 21, 2021
3 min read

The Mallorca Problem

A farmer went to the market and purchased a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage. On his way home, he came to the bank of a river where he rented a boat. To cross the river, the farmer could only carry himself and a single one of his purchases. The classic ‘wolf, goat, and cabbage problem’ can be solved, and all will get home. But what about the Mallorca problem? 

After a long complicated year of corona, cravings are at an all-time high for a sunny beach getaway. Spain is one of the most visited countries globally; in 2019, it reportedly had 89million international visitors (Statistica, 2021); 2020, however, was a different story. 

Since the start of the pandemic, countries have been categorised based on their infection rate, death rate, and ability to control spreads. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI)  has been dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk areas within Germany. Some European governments have linked their travel restrictions to the RKI’s classification.

This is where we meet the first part of the Mallorca problem. Anyone traveling back from a high-risk area to Germany must now “segregate in accordance with the respective quarantine regulations of the responsible federal states.” Each federal state regulates for itself which measures and exceptions are applicable. One could argue that it would be more logical if regulations were uniformly in Europe; there is no reason to treat travelers returning from Spain in Bavaria differently than in Amsterdam or Paris.

Risk areas are categorised according to the development of Covid-19 cases. In cases where regions manage to reduce the number of infections, they become low risk. This is what seemingly happened in Mallorca, three weeks before the Easter holidays. Consequently, many individuals booked flights for a sunny getaway. The only requirements for entry was a PCR test, and downloading the Spanish Government app. 

This seemed like a simple solution; people could enjoy a few days in Mallorca and then return home as usual. Airlines were also optimistic for a little recovery. However, nobody could travel for vacation within Germany since the whole of the country was defined as high risk. Therefore the Mallorca problem arose.

Why is it that passengers can fly to Mallorca but not visit Zeeland or the Baltic sea? Politicians debated this over a few days. Roughly 100,000 passengers were involved but discussed an air travel ban for 80 million citizens.

The result from this was that all air travelers had to present a negative test when entering Germany. The organisation of this left responsible to airlines, causing chaos.

The Mallorca problem demonstrates that the aviation industry and passengers need to be well equipped for recovery. With ever-changing travel restrictions, passengers need to be informed consistently. Being prepared to make tests and documentation available as simplistically and valid as possible. 

Airlines need organisational talent and customer-centric solutions to gain passengers' trust back. Mistakes are inevitable. Avoiding these saves high penalties and irregularities in the overall process flow. 

If you need help or support with this, reach out to the ES_Mobility team today. 

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