The aviation regulator has issued a directive restricting foreign pilots and aircrew from leaving airports in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The notice issued by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) requires all the pilots and the crew to seek accommodation in the hotels within the airport.
In Nairobi, the airline crew members are normally accommodated in hotels within the central business district.
“In accordance with the directive issued by the government of Kenya aiming at preventing the spread of coronavirus … airline crew will be accommodated at designated hotels within the airport and their movements restricted,” said the KCAA notice.
Two hotels — Four Points by Sheraton and Crowne Plaza — are based within Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Kenya banned entry on Sunday to people travelling from any country with reported coronavirus cases for 30 days, with the exception of Kenyan citizens and foreigners with residence permits, who will have to undergo a period of self-quarantine.
This has delivered a big hit to the country’s tourism and travel industry. The country reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus on March 13, with number rising to 16 by yesterday.
At the same time, the government said it would not permit deportation from any country of more than five persons through JKIA.
Foreign nations at times use JKIA as a connecting hub for deportations to other regional countries, with deportees held at the facility for some time as they await flights.
The notice was issued after stakeholders in horticulture complained that the movement of their cargo had been affected by the directive issued by Mr Kenyatta restricting foreigners from entering the country.
“The President issued the directive banning all entry by foreigners, but it did not specify what should happen in the case of foreign pilots,” said Fresh Producer Consortium of Kenya.
The association said that they had received clarification from the KCAA on measures that have been taken to accommodate the foreign aircrew.
Fears of contracting the virus has slowed down economic activities in the country, with malls and restaurants taking a hit, setting the stage for job cuts and reduced pay.
Lockdowns and entry bans imposed around the world have hit Kenya’s horticulture and tourism, which generated a combined Sh260 billion last year.
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