MIAMI — Air links to Europe and Japan are restarting at San Francisco Airport (SFO) after the route suspension that took effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

All Nippon Airways (NH) is starting with three flights per week to Tokyo-Narita. Swiss (LX) is starting one flight per week to Zurich beginning on Monday, June 1, and Lufthansa (LH) is planning to launch three flights per week to Munich on June 16.

The flights to Europe are the first for SFO since April 1. The airport has been experiencing a considerable decline in flights due to the pandemic. Of 867 weekly flights planned for May, SFO only saw 42 per week on average. The actual number of flights is 4.8% of expected flights.

ANA Boeing 777 parked at San Francisco Airport.

Health safety procedures at SFO


Like most airports, SFO has implemented procedures to protect its passengers. However, passengers should weigh up the risk of traveling, and decide if it is a risk they’re willing to take.

Passengers and workers must wear face masks while moving through the airport, according to SFO. Currently, the airport will not be checking travelers’ temperatures at security points or elsewhere. Doing so is not a reliable indicator of infection from the coronavirus, according to SFO Public Information Officer Doug Yakel.

“If you can’t get home as expected, you have to think about, ‘Will I have enough medication if my stay gets extended?'” Lisa Lindsay, executive director of the nonprofit Private Risk Management Association, said. “If you need to ride out COVID-19, do you have some of the basics that you need?”

San Francisco Airport Terminal 2, Pre-pandemic.

The airport has laid out 4,000 social distancing markers throughout the airport. These include seating areas and areas where passengers usually gather. Elevators have been limited to two people at a time, with automated announcements reminding people to socially distance.

The US Transportation Security Administration will now allow passengers to carry bottles of hand sanitizer up to 12 oz. in carry-on luggage to enable higher levels of hygiene.