In an interview with the Star, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the airline is ready to take back to the skies.
This will however be subject to “medical protocol”, Macharia said, which the government is keen to ensure both the national carrier and KAA comply with.
“We expect KQ to fly from June 8 subject to medical protocols,” he said.
According to industry players, these include clearance by the World Health Organization (WHO) and adherence to set specifics and standards by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Among them is spacing at check-ins, waiting bays, sanitizing, and neutralizing of the middle seats in aircraft.
“We are supporting KQ to get back to the skies,” Macharia said.
This week, the staff at JKIA were taken through a two-day pandemic preparedness training, a program of the East African Community conducted by AMREF and funded by Germany. The Sh708.1 million program covers eight international airports in the six EAC partner States.
It involves a wide range of staff with close contact to passengers and or their luggage, mong them airport medical service providers, aircraft and airline operators, selected crew members, staff at immigration and customs, cargo and baggage handlers.
The training aims to build the knowledge of the staff on safety measures, surveillance, prevention and control strategies and relevant regional guidelines.
“These trainings are implemented at a critical point in time, before international travel picks up again,” German Deputy Ambassador Thomas Wimmer said.
The latest developments give hope to the country’s aviation and travel industry, which has one of the most affected since the government’s suspension on intentional flights in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The airline grounded a majority of its 36 aircraft, which includes nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 737 aircraft, and 17 Embraers.
This comes in as the tourism industry in East Africa is at its knees, and looking forward to revive it to serve the East African Countries with safari guests and tourists. Being the main hub that serves East and Central Africa, the light at the end of the tunnel is seen to bring the industry to its previous glory.
Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti all in some way depend on the inflow of guests through the JKIA. This brings promises to these countries as not only passenger flights, but also the improvement of their economy will grow through trade and importation of goods.
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