Government announces hotel lockdown for pilots, crew as international travel resumes

Kenya Airways Crew in the past. [Photo: Capital FM]

The Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has issued strict health safety protocol for pilots and crew members days before the resumption of international flights on August 1.

The new protocls will require pilots and crew members to remain in their rooms or hotels after landing in Kenya.

The Magical Kenya Tourism and Travel Health and Safety Protocols published on Monday state, however, are not clear on whether these protocols apply to all pilots from other airlines or Kenya Airways (KQ) crew alone.

According to the protocols, they (pilots and crew) are only allowed to leave when taking off or for any other emergency as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In their rooms and hotels, the pilots and crew will have room service meals and drinks.

“To ensure that risk of exposure to crew members through contact with local population is minimised, the following measures will apply; at the resting facilities (hotel) the crew members shall not be allowed to leave the hotel facility or rooms except for emergency reasons,” part of the protocols state.

KQ crew flying in from abroad will be exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine imposed by the government for all inbound passengers.

The national career is, therefore, required to shuttle its crew to designated hotels or any other facility of their choice upon landing, Tourism CS Najib Balala indicated.

The rooms will be disinfected before their arrival and after their departure.

“The airline shall ensure that crews do not share the transport with any passengers or other airline crew,” Balala stated.

The protocols were published days after five major airlines in the aviation industry announced flights to Kenya beginning August 1.

British Airways will have four weekly flight; On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Qatar Airways will operate 14 flights every week while Fly Emirates will also commence its operations as soon the ban is lifted on August 1.

Air France will have its first flight on August 6 operating a single flight to Paris every Friday. KLM will resume on August 3 with four weekly flights.