International flights in, out of Kenya kick off August 1
Five major airlines are set to resume flights in and out of Kenya following the easing of international travel restrictions by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In what amounts to a stamp of approval for Kenya’s efforts to re-open the economy amid Covid-19 shocks, British Airways, KLM, Qatar Airways and Air France said they would resume daily flights from August 1, while Emirates is already scheduled for a repatriation flight from Nairobi to Dubai, departing at around 4:15pm tomorrow.
“We are pleased to inform you that British Airways will be resuming international travel into and out of Nairobi on the August 1, 2020.
The airline will operate 4 weekly flights; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday,” advised BA through an online flier.
The move comes ahead of Kenya’s planned re-opening of its international airspace on August 1 following a 5-month suspension.
Phased re-opening of economy
Qatar Airways and KLM will both resume international travel into and out of Nairobi on August 3, 2020 with the latter also offering four weekly flights on the same days as the British Airways, subject to regulatory approvals.
Air France said its scheduled flights will start with a single flight to Paris every Friday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, during a televised address on July 6, restored both domestic and international flights as part of phased re-opening of the economy following engagement with aviation stakeholders.
Britain and France are important trading partners with Kenya and were among top ten countries whose citizens toured Kenya in 2019, helping the tourism sector rake in Sh163.5 billion.
UK and Kenya had earlier this month agreed to start a post-Brexit trade agreement with negotiations likely to be finalised before the former’s exit from the European Union (EU) by the year end.
Opening Kenya’s airspace comes after months of preparations to conform to the World Health Organisation and International Air Transport Association’s health guidelines for operating passenger planes amid rising cases of Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenya had already allowed local passenger services to begin on July 15 with authorities saying it was a test of the country’s preparedness before resumption of international passenger flights.
The preparations appear to be on course as Kenya Airways (KQ) schedules to resume international flights next month.
KQ to resume flights
“We plan to resume flights to 27 destinations in August. This represents close to 50 percent of our routes pre-Covid,” said KQ chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka in an interview with a local daily.
He said KQ will not fly to United States of America and China when it resumes but will fly twice a day to Addis Ababa, Kigali and Dar es Salaam and thrice a week to Zanzibar.
Three weekly flights to London and Mumbai and five weekly flights to Dubai with reduced frequencies on the Amsterdam, Paris and London routes. “Resumption to China is hinged on demand,” he said.
This comes even as visitors from Kenya are banned from entering 31 European countries according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Only citizens from 14 countries will be allowed to enter the countries and Kenya is not among them.