NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15- Local flights resumed in Kenya, three months after local airlines grounded operations due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, national carrier Kenya Airways was back to the skies to key destinations of Kisumu, Mombasa and Diani.
This follows a directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta who lifted travel restrictions, also allowing international passenger flights to resume operations on August 1.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the resumption of local flights will help revive the economy. Most sectors, including tourism are worst affected since March when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Kenya, with infections now soaring above 10,000.
“Let me thank Jomo Kenyatta Airport for making sure protocals are being followed. Let us ensure this is a success, because if we do not do it properly, that opportunity of going international may be reversed,” the CS said.
KQ’s Group Managing Director/CEO Allan Kilavuka outlined some of the protocols that have been put in place; these include passengers wearing masks at all times, seats and toilets being cleaned and fumigated frequently.
The airline will also have sanitizers at hand, as well as ensure blankets are used only once.
Commenting on the development, KQ board Chair Michael Joseph says the airline has adhered to the protocols that are necessary to safely fly, in accordance to international standards.
Betty Radier, Kenya Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer, said the resumption of flights across the country will spur the tourism growth, and unlock the opportunities that grow the tourism sector.
The airline will continuously review the protocols in place and update these where necessary to continue being ahead of the curve when it comes to safety.
JamboJet Managing Director Karanja Ndegwa assured that the airline is prioritizing the safety of its customers and employees by adhering to the Ministry of Health’s coronavirus protocols.
“We have put in place measures such as sanitization of the aircraft before and after each flight paying extra attention to all touched surfaces and we have also fitted the aircraft with the high efficient particulate air system to refresh the air every three minutes. It is also mandatory for everyone to wear a face mask,” Ndegwa said.
Ndegwa urged all customers to take advantage of the low transport cost that the airline is currently offering for all domestic flights
“During this period, we understand the tough timers Kenyans are going through and therefore we are determined to keep our fares as low as possible. For a one-way flight, it be ranging between 4 to 6 thousand shillings,” said Ndegwa.
Kenya Airways will be flying twice daily to Mombasa and once to Kisumu as it continues to review the option of increasing frequencies as demand picks.
Local and International flights were suspended on March 22 as measure to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.