#KENYA’S TRANSPORT MINISTER SAYS FLIGHTS TO RESUME SUBJECT TO ‘MEDICAL PROTOCOLS‘
(Posted 01st June 2020)
(Picture courtesy of Alan Dixson, LetsGoTravel Nairobi)
While domestic airlines in Kenya like Safarilink, Air Kenya and even Kenya Airways’s subsidiary Jambojet will remain on the ground until the movement restrictions in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties remain in place has, according to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Kenya Airways a relaunch date of 08th of June in their crosshairs.
It is understood that a wide range of details are still being worked out, by both airline and the Kenya Airport Authority, to ensure social distancing and hygienic standards can be fully met, not all of which have yet been published by the Kenyan government.
This applies to the entry into the airport’s inner perimeters at security check points, entry points into the terminals, check in operations, immigration and additional security checks and the departure lounge areas – also of course the common areas in the airport like restaurants and duty free shops – right to the point of boarding and seating arrangements on the aircraft.
When an aircraft is not parked at the terminal via an air bridge and bus transport to an apron parking position is required, this adds another dimension of logistical preparation to be sure passengers are distant enough from each other to avoid any possible infection.
Aircraft cleaning protocols too need to be outlined and are likely to follow recommendations made by both IATA and ICAO.
Kenya Airways has since the #COVID19 outbreak’s grounding of air transport operated a series of repatriation flights but also used modified wide body passenger aircraft to uplift cargo including using the passenger section.
With suggestions making the rounds that middle seats in economy class will be kept empty can it be expected that fares will skyrocket when traffic resumes.
The airline has yet to give an indication which regional and continental destinations will be first out of the starting blocks and when long haul operations might resume and information is expected later this week, as Kenya today celebrates Madaraka Day.
Meanwhile has the airline last week also confirmed a loss of 12.9 billion Kenya Shillings, in the wake of which they once again appealed to the Kenya government for a 7 billion Kenya Shillings bailout package, which – following a cash injection of 5 billion Kenya Shillings back in February – was reportedly denied by the Treasury Department.
In the wider Eastern African region are RwandAir, Air Tanzania and Uganda Airlines working towards a relaunch of flight operations but without having set any dates, largely depending on when air transport in and out of their countries will be permitted again.
Rwanda’s government, in support of their airline, have already pledged an increased funding for RwandAir, to cushion the losses the airline has been adding up since global air traffic ground to a halt.
Notably has Tanzania already opened their airspace but there are presently no takers yet to relaunch scheduled flights. In a related development was it also learned that Air Tanzania intends to lease a Boeing B767 Freighter but details remain sketchy at this time.
ATCNews will provide updates from across the region and beyond as Africa moves towards the relaunch of scheduled passenger flight operations.