Tanzania relaxes restrictions on international flights

Dar es Salaam. The government has relaxed some restrictions on international flights to allow some categories of flight movements amid growing demand for the service, authorities say.

The relaxation touches repatriation flights, operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, technical landings where passengers do not disembark and other safety-related operations.

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) suspended of both scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger flights into and out of the country in April 11 in an effort to curb imported cases of Covid-19.

“We have been receiving a number of applications for repatriation flights that is why the government has decided to relax some restrictions,” the regulator’s director general, Mr Hamza Johari, told The Citizen.

Until Friday, United Sates, Turkey, UK, Lebanon, Pakistan and Ethiopia had arranged special flights and successful brought back home their citizens who were stuck in Tanzania.

According to the regulator, before relaxation of the conditions, it could take up to two weeks for the airline to get the permit for repatriation flights and other related operations.

With effect from last Thursday, airlines can secure a permit in no more than two hours given that all application documents are intact.

Before, the process was complicated because the applications had to go through the Foreign Affairs ministry, defense and security authorities before TCAA issues the permit.

Previously, only cargo flights were allowed on condition that crew members be quarantined at designated places by the government at their own cost for the duration of their stay.

TCAA said in its circular, which was made public on Thursday that the government would authorise empty flights for the purpose of picking-up passengers with a condition of crew not to disembark.

“In case a complete routing flight duration requires crew change, it is advised to deploy two sets of crew to work in rotation in order to minimise chances of being subjected to a mandatory quarantine,” Mr Johari said in a circular.

He added that flights for the purpose of dropping Tanzanian citizens or residents that are stranded in foreign countries would be authorised.

All travellers whether foreigners or returning residents entering Tanzania will be subjected to a mandatory isolation for 14 days at their own cost at designated facilities identified by the government.

After 14 days of mandatory quarantine, passengers with no symptoms of Covid-19, will be allowed to leave the facilities immediately after registering their personal information for future follow-up.

According to the circular, all travellers will be subjected to an intensive screening including rapid testing for Covid-19 if deemed necessary.

Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL)’s chartered flights will leave Tanzania for India next Thursday to bring home Tanzania nationals stranded in the south Asian country amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.