The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has issued a notice to airmen suspending all international flights into Kenya today at midnight.
The government’s National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) on Sunday said it will from Wednesday midnight suspend all international flights in and out of Kenya to tame the spread of coronavirus. Cargo planes will however not be affected.
‘’Following the directive issued by the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) on March 22nd, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has already been issued suspending all international flights into Kenya, effective Wednesday midnight,’’ tweeted the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
‘’Only cargo flights will be allowed into the country, with the crew expected to self-isolate within designated airport hotels,’’ tweet reads further.
Kenya’s coronavirus cases rose to 25 on Tuesday after nine more people tested positive, Health Cabinet Secretary CS Mutahi Kagwe said.
According to Kagwe, the new cases were spread out across four counties namely: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale. He said among the new cases, seven were Kenyans while the other two were foreigners.
Businesses have felt the effect of the disease since it was first reported in China. The aviation industry is the worst hit with many airlines scaling down their operations.
Closer home, the national carrier Kenya Airways earlier in the week announced the suspension of all international passenger flight services beginning Wednesday midnight.
The airline Chief Executive Officer Allan Kivaluka, however, said that Kenya Airways will continue cargo services to maintain supplies to Kenya and for emergency services.
He also added that in the meantime, all the domestic flights to Mombasa and Kisumu will remain operational.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) has already warned that the global airline industry is likely to lose Sh26 trillion in revenue due to the pandemic.
According to IATA, the figure could even be higher if governments around the world do not intervene quickly.
The figure is an upward review from the previous forecast of $113 billion (Sh11.9 trillion) after different countries imposed severe travel restrictions as infections and the death toll from the virus continue to rise.
“It is the deepest crisis we have ever had in this industry,” said IATA Director General and Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac in a statement. The airlines’ lobby did not make a forecast for profits or losses.
IATA left the estimated volume of needed government support unchanged at $200 billion. “It is the deepest crisis we have ever had in this industry,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.