There was Pomp and colour at Kisumu International Airport as first KQ flight landed after a 99 days break taken to control spread of the novel Corona virus.
The KQ 655 flight with 66 passengers on board among them Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Kenya Civil Aviation (KCA), Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) staff landed at 11:20 am.
Stakeholders from the tourism sector and Kisumu County Government officials were on hand to receive the passengers signaling the reopening of the tourism sector which has been worst hit by the covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the ceremony, Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o said the stoppage of domestic flights had affected the region’s economy with the hotel industry bearing the brunt.
“In Kisumu City alone, the Sh. 260 million a month hotel industry has been hit hard. Their closure occasioned the laying off of about 2,000 workers,” he said.
The industry, he added has lost Sh. 1.5 billion in revenues over the past four months affecting the county government’s source of revenue collection.
Nyong’o said reopening of domestic flights will see hotel bookings in the lakeside city rise and bring players in the sector back to business.
The county government, he added has heightened Covid-19 surveillance within and outside the city of Kisumu to ensure that visitors and residents are safe.
He asked KAA to maintain a proper passenger manifest to aide in contact tracing whenever a case is reported.
Kisumu Airport Manager Selina Gor said the facility has met all the Covid-19 safety requirements as outlined in the Ministry of Health guidelines.
Handwashing equipment and sanitizers, she said have been installed at strategic points to ensure that passengers coming in and leaving the airport are sanitized.
A scanner with the capacity of screening temperatures of six passengers at ago, she disclosed, has also been installed at the airport.
The Kenya Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Betty Radier said the board was banking on the reopening of the airspace to revive tourism in the country.
Director of Operations at Kenya Airways Captain Paul Njoroge said the airline has put in place adequate measures to enhance safety of passengers and crew.
He disclosed that air filters with the capability of purifying air up to 99 percent have been installed in all the aircrafts.
The filters, he said release fresh air every two minutes making the environment within the cabin safe for travelers.
He assured KQ customers that all Covid-19 protocols and ministry of health guidelines shall be observed to the latter to guarantee their safety.
By Chris Mahandara