|IATA urges Kenyan Government to Reduce PCR Test Fees to Boost Air Travel, Economic Recovery|
|The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged the Kenyan government to use all mechanisms at its disposal to encourage air travel, including reductions in COVID-19 test charges.
“Kenya’s air transport recovery is stalling and requires ongoing support. Among the interventions, we are urging Kenya’s government to reduce the cost of PCR tests for travelers, which, at roughly US$80 each, is significantly higher than the average in Africa” said Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East.
“The high cost of tests has become a major deterrent and a drag on the recovery of Kenya’s air transport and tourism sectors. An alternative solution would be to permit the use of more cost-effective antigen tests” he added.
Airline passenger traffic to, from and within Kenya fell by 52% in June 2021 vs June 2019. The picture was similar for the first half of 2021, with passenger volumes having declined by 54.2% as compared to the first half of 2019. The next two years should see stronger recovery as Kenya’s vaccination rate improves and more countries reopen their borders to the country.
Key priorities to support and sustain the recovery of Kenya’s air transport and tourism sectors include:
Equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines
With low vaccination rates across Africa, the continent and its people are vulnerable and the economic recovery from COVID-19 is at risk. Moreover, with more countries lifting travel restrictions for those vaccinated, the freedom of movement will be limited until vaccines are universally available. With 1.6% of Kenya’s population fully vaccinated, the challenge is particularly acute.
“Nations, governments, politicians, and business must cooperate through COVAX so that everyone gets access to the vaccines they require, no matter where they are” said Alawadhi.