TURBULENCE

COVID-19: Kenya Airways suspends international flights

Kenya has issued a ban on all international flights effective Wednesday night.

In Summary

• The national carrier will however continue to operate cargo flights. 

• Customers affected will be able to change their bookings for later travel or exchange their booking for vouchers for future travel.

A KQ aircraft/FILE
A KQ aircraft/FILE

Kenya Airways has "temporarily suspended" all international services effective midnight March 25.

This is in line with the government directive to suspend all international flights effective Wednesday night as announced by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday.

The announcement came as eight new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the country, taking the total number of cases to 15.

 
 

"All the eight came through JKIA between March 4 and 17. They have been isolated at various facilities," CS Kagwe said.

In a statement on Sunday, Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said the airline's international services remain suspended from Wednesday midnight "until further notice." 

"Customers affected by the suspension will be able to change their bookings for later travel or exchange their booking for vouchers for future travel within 12 months," Kilavuka said.

The move comes barely five days after the national carrier said it had been forced to reduce its network by over 70 per cent and it had become increasingly difficult to continue offering international passenger services.

It has announced unpaid leave for some of its staff beginning April 1 with management team taking a 75 per cent pay cut.

This is in the wake of increasing travel restrictions as countries invoke travel bans to contain the coronavirus.

As at 6pm Sunday, there were 1,284 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Africa including 40 deaths.

 
 

More than nine countries in KQ's Africa network, the UAE and India have instigated travel restrictions, denting the airline's operations and its revenues.

The national carrier is now on the verge of grounding part of its fleet.

It will, however, continue to operate cargo flights which are excluded in the government directive.

Domestic flights to Mombasa and Kisumu also remain operational.