Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia has officially launched the resumption of domestic air transport in the country amid strict measures to prevent the spreading of the novel coronavirus, after suspending operations for three months
Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Macharia said it was important that the country implement safe travel protocols to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Let us make sure that these local flights are the benchmark of our success in implementing safe travel protocols. We do not do it correctly; the opportunity to fly internationally may be reversed.”
He said that the government would rely on their performance to decide if it would resume international flights.
“It is up to the Kenya Airways management to ensure it uses this period to grow demand. If the performance of domestic flights will be poor, we may have to reschedule reopening of international flights,” Macharia said.
According to chinadaily.com.cn, Kenya Airways, Jambojet, Safari Link and Fly 540 are among the local airlines that resumed operations following the lifting of the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi and Mombasa counties last week.
The first flights were made from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi to Mombasa and Kisumu at 10am and 10:30am respectively, marking the official return of operations by Kenya Airways.
However, passengers have to wash and sanitize their hands repeatedly from the main gate up to the point of boarding planes, pass through temperature testing points and wear masks all the time.
Sitting and queueing positions have also been rearranged to ensure social distancing, with signs placed at different points for passengers to know where to stand or sit, and reminding them to wear masks.
According to Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways’ CEO, the airline’s highest priority continues to be the health and safety of the passengers, crew, and staff.
“I want to thank our customers for giving us the opportunity to serve them and for trusting us to get them to their different destinations safely. A special mention to our staff for their outstanding contribution in ensuring that our customers continue to be reunited with their loved ones across our network,” Kilavuka said.