Comoros-bound passengers stranded in Dar es Salaam

Tuesday March 24 2020


By Rosemary Mirondo @mwaikama

Dar es Salaam. Hundreds of Comorians living in Tanzania will not fly back into their country via Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) after their country suspended all foreign flights.
However, a few of them were lucky to reunite with their families yesterday after The Comoros granted one slot only for ATCL to land in the Isles.
The decision of the Isles government to ban all foreign airlines, especially those which have reported Covid-19 cases including Tanzania, is to avoid importation of the killer virus.
Following the decision, ATCL announced yesterday that it flew the last flight, Q400 Bombardier, carrying 76 passengers to Comoro.
The remaining passengers, who were already booked for the trip, will be refunded their fares.
ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi told The Citizen yesterday had the airline has also suspended regional routes to Entebbe and Bujumbura in Uganda and Burundi, respectively.
This comes a few days after the suspension of international flight to Mumbai in India.
 “We have suspended the regional and international routes until further notice because the countries have imposed bans on planes from a number of countries including Tanzania,” he stressed. However, flights schedules that are yet to be suspended include Lusaka and Harare. Explaining, he said Tanzanians, who wanted to return back home cannot do so following suspension of flights like KLM, Emirates, South African Airways and Swiss AIR.
He explained that majority of Comorians had paid for air tickets to return back home, but ATCL could only carry a full board pending other decisions whether the country will contract them to take their nationals back home. However,he noted that those who will not be able to travel will be refunded fully.
Earlier The Citizen witnessed, Comorians at the ATCL offices seeking to get flights to go back to their country following reported cases of Covid-19 in the country.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected operations of a number of airlines in the world, as many have already incurred losses due to flight cancellations.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said airlines could suffer a loss of about $110 billion as a result of COVID-19, following a review of its previous financial impact analysis.
IATA predicted on 20 February that an annual loss of global passenger revenues amounted to $29.3 billion due to COVID-19, but that analysis banked on the impact remaining confined largely to markets associated with China.
Number of airlines in Europe and America have requested for the stimulus package while others were on the verge of collapse.