Kenya Airways (KQ) has resumed its international passenger flights today following the easing of travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The first international flights were to London, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Kigali and Lusaka. The other flight was supposed to be to Dar es Salaam but in a tit-for-tat, Tanzania has since banned KQ from its airspace.
Speaking at JKIA during a ceremony to flag off KQ100 flight to London, KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka said that they have been monitoring the feasibilty of the health and safety measures put in place for both the staff and customers since the resumption of domestic flights on July, 15.
Apart from the COVID-19 containment measures put in place onboard, Kilavuka said that each airfcraft has been equipped with a powerful HEPA filters which eliminate viruses, germs and allergens.
Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba said that COVID-19 has paused a novel challenge that has never been witnessed ever since the advent of aviation industry over 100 years ago.
On her part, British Deputy High Commissioner Sussie Kitchens lauded the UK-Kenya bilateral relationship that has over the years ensured a mutual sustainable development.
Despite the grounding of passenger flights for four months, KQ has been operating cargo flights that especially anabled Kenya horticultural farmers acccess the international market.
“In April, KQ flew 160 tonnes of produce into the UK which shows you just how much Brits demand to see Kenyan tea, flowers, and vegetables on the shelves of our UK supermarkets,” said Sussie Kitchens.
Acknowledging that KQ is an important and strategic asset for Kenya, Kenya Airways Board Chairperson Michael Joseph said that the airline contributes to Kenya’s and Africa’s economic growth by providing the connections to support trade and commerce throughout the continent.
“Resuming international flights is more than the movement of people and goods from one point to the other. It’s about connecting businesses to markets, uniting families & friends and reigniting economies,” said Michael Joseph.
List of countries allowed to resume flights to Kenya
Earlier this week, Transport CS James Macharia released names of countries that willl be allowed to resume international flights to Kenya. They include;
Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Canada, South Korea, China, UAE, Qatar,, UK, France, Switzerland, USA (except the states of California, Florida and Texas).
CS Macharia said that these countries had been given the green light to resume flights to Kenya because of recording declining COVID-19 cases.
Passengers arriving with PCR-based COVID-19 negative certificate and a body temperature not exceeding 37.5°C will be exempted from quarantine.