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Kenya Airways puts on hold US, China routes as it resumes on Saturday

By Fredrick Obura | July 30th 2020

Direct flights to the US, China and Thailand will be missing when the Kenya Airways resumes international operations on Saturday.
The Airline plans to start operations to USA, China, and Thailand from October 2020 as the destinations require bulk of network to open up to sustain adequate traffic on the routes.

“Since resuming domestic flights on July 15, we have been monitoring the adherence to the protocols that we have in place to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff, and I am pleased that they are being enforced and followed strictly,” said Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways.

“The resumption of our international flights is an important milestone for us. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to provide connections for our farmer’s produce to reach international markets, medical supplies to reach our people through our Cargo flights, as well as reuniting families through the repatriation flights we mounted with support from the Government of Kenya. We look forward to welcoming our guests onboard as we play our role in kick-starting economies, not only for Kenya but also for those countries that we operate to,” he added.

The Kenya Airways (KQ) will resume international passenger services on Saturday starting with the
London, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Kigali, Dar es Salaam and Lusaka destinations.

During the month there will be a gradual increase in the network with flights to Paris, Mumbai, and Amsterdam. In Africa, the airline will operate flights to Accra, Dzaoudzi, Freetown, Harare, Kilimanjaro, Lagos, Monrovia, Moroni, Nampula, and Zanzibar. Based on demand and other factors, resumption of services to other destinations around the globe will occur.

In a statement, KQ said it has in place measures such as the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) by the flight crew and airport workers where necessary, and limited interaction between crew and passengers. The airline is also providing sanitizer stations onboard and washing of hands will be encouraged by the crew onboard the flights.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and aviation industries, globally. According to IATA, travel demand is forecast to fall by 58 per cent in 2020, while passenger revenues will decline by over $6 billion (Sh600 billion) compared to the previous year. Kenya’s tourism industry meanwhile has lost Sh80 billion ($752 million) in revenue so far due to the crisis.

“While we do not expect these sectors to immediately resume business-as-usual in a world where travel restrictions are still a reality, the resumption of international flights is an important step for Kenya towards bringing these sectors back to life.”

According to the Kenya Airways Chairman of the Board, Michael Joseph, “The global economic and geopolitical context remains uncertain and it will take another 2-3 years to gain the confidence of travellers and begin the path to recovery for air travel demand. Several industry watchers predict that it will be a few years before air travel returns to the 2019 levels.”

“However, the resumption of international flights from Nairobi to the world is a major step towards recovery, as it will enable local businesses to connect with global markets, contributing favourably to the Kenyan economy and towards the sustainable development of the continent,” he added.

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