Nairobi. Kenya government has restored both domestic and international flights effective July 15 and August 1 respectively as part of the re-phased re-opening of the economy.
Speaking on Monday July 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the return of air travel follows recent engagement between aviation stakeholders on safe return of air travel in the country.
“Local air travel shall resume effective July 15 in strict conformity with protocols from both the Ministry of Health and civil aviation management,” he said.
Earlier last week, the President had hinted at the return to air travel in a webcasted meeting with regional leaders.
Further, Cabinet Secretaries to the Ministry of Transport and Tourism James Macharia and Najib Balala had toured the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the Moi International Airport (MIA) in Mombasa and expressed the facilities readiness to flights.
Additional inspections to the airports were made at the end of last week including a tour of the Eldoret Airport which facilitates part of local travel.
International flights were the first to fold on March 25 before the subsequent ban on local air travel as the country instilled measures to combat the ensuing pandemic.
The lift of the ban to air travel is expected to mark a relief to local carriers who have been restricted to lifting cargo only following the ban on passenger flights.
New normal flights
Aviation players have in recent weeks been fast tracking protocols to aid the return of air travel in compliance to the Ministry of Health guidelines with flying under the new Covid-19 era is expected to take in dramatic changes upon their return.
According to part of protocols shared by Kenya Airways to staff members, passengers on both international and domestic flights will see a one-hour increase in check-in times taking the total wait time by local and international travellers to two and three hours respectively.
The additional time being set to allow for new procedures on containing the virus spread.
Airport lounges will now incorporate floor marking indicative of social distancing as seen currently in supermarkets while temperature checks using thermal guns will now be a new normal.
Guests will always be required to have face masks on both in and out of flights while baggage trays will be frequently disinfected.
Passengers will be required to strictly abide by zoning while boarding and not priority while check-in counters will be fitted with anti-microbial screens.
Inflight, cabin crew will be required to always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while meal boxes and cutlery will require a single wrap.
Further, blankets and pillows which were previously used on multiple occasions will require individual packaging and will be deployed for single use only.
Passengers will be required to keep social distancing while disembarking while each aircraft will require deep cleaning and disinfection after each flight.