Kenya Airways (KQ) domestic flights that have been grounded for the past three months will not be required to keep their middle row seats empty in line with the Covid-19 guidelines, the sector regulator has said.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director general Gilbert Kibe has said that flying with the middle row seats empty will not be sustainable to the carrier as they will be forced to hike prices, which in turn will drive away potential customers.
Fresh Ministry of Trade rules for businesses outlined safety guidelines to be followed during the easing of restrictions in place due to Covid-19. One of the rules demanded that airlines limit the number of passengers to nearly half of their licensed capacity as per the public health regulations.
KQ had planned to resume domestic commercial flights within the next couple of days according to a footage by President Uhuru Kenyatta announcing plans to ease movement restrictions in a couple of days.
Last week the Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Mr Allan Kivaluka said it would be nonviable to fly as the ticket cost was likely to increase by 60 to 100 per cent. He therefore pointed to a possibility of delaying the flights further.
Mr. Kibe’s latest sentiments mean the flights ca resume with the airlines exempt from the prevailing guidelines.
“I can say that airlines in Kenya will be allowed to operate in such a way that they will be able to remain sustainable. Keeping seats in the middle row empty is unsustainable,” He said in an interview with Business Daily.
Mr. Kibe said airlines have plans to curb the spread of Corona virus by implementing measures such using face masks, conducting pre-flight screening and sanitizing their cabins to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.