Dar es Salaam. Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is set to start flying to Guangzhou in China on May 8 amidst tight restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes after several postponements since September last year due to the pandemic, which forced airlines to ground operations after several countries opted for closing their skies to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The latest postponement was March 19.
“We will be flying on Saturday at 5am. It will be once in two weeks,” ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi said at a press conference Monday.
Mr Matindi said passengers travelling to China will have to undergo three Covid-19 tests, before receiving Green health declaration code from the Embassy of China.
From there, ATCL will again test the passenger before boarding. Mr Matindi said despite tough conditions, demand for the Guangzhou route is high.
“The booking for the May 8 flight is full,” he said. “People are calling on us to increase a number of aircraft for the route.”
On March 19, the national carrier suspended its maiden flight to Guangzhou, citing pressure and capacity limit of Guangdong Local Government on Covid-19 control and prevention for Inbound Flights.
“After a long time follow-up, Chinese authorities have eventually granted us a permit,” noted Mr Matindi.
“For now, those who are allowed to travel to China are citizens of China and foreigners with special permits.”
He revealed that airlines carrying at least five passengers who are Covid-19 positive would be suspended from flying to China for two months.
“We will be strict on this because we are neither ready to lose revenue to suspension nor to distort our image,” said the ATCL boss.