Kenya Airways (KQ) could be operating charter planes to Europe, it has emerged.
This is against a directive by the government that temporarily suspended all international passenger planes in Kenya, in a bid to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The directive was to take effect on Wednesday, but a flight schedule in our possession of the national carrier has flights (with passengers) scheduled after the directive took effect.
For instance, KQ has two charter planes scheduled for today, one from Amsterdam and another from the John F. Kennedy International Airport, US to arrive in the country tomorrow.
Two chartered flights to and from United Kingdom’s Heathrow Airport have been cancelled.
Yesterday, another charter plane left Nairobi for Heathrow Airport with passengers, scheduled to return today as a Ferry Flight (no passengers on board).
Yesterday, it emerged that British Airways is still operating international passenger flights in Kenya, amid the ban.
This was confirmed by the US Embassy in Nairobi, who urged US citizens to book the flights in case they wanted to go back home.
“We have learned that British Airways is operating two commercial flights from Nairobi to London on Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29. Tickets for these flights can be purchased online,” the Embassy tweeted.
A spot check today by Kahawa Tungu on Flight Aware, a website that tracks flights, showed that a Martinair Holland plane today left JKIA headed to Amsterdam, and was yet to land at the time of going to press. It is not clear whether the Boeing 747-400 was a cargo or passenger plane.
Last week, the government announced that no international passenger flight will land or take off from Kenya effective Wednesday, March 25.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new directive will take effect on March 25, with the exception of cargo flights whose crew must adhere to strict guidelines and will be limited to three people.
“Countries wishing to evacuate their nationals must make their arrangements to do so within this period.,” the CS said, “Kenyans who are currently in foreign countries and will not have come back within the period are advised to observe the guidelines issued in the respective countries wherever they are.”
Currently, the United Kingdom’s death toll has risen from 475 to 578, health officials have confirmed.
A total of 104,866 people have been tested, of whom 93,208 tested negative and 11,568 were positive.
Kenya has so far confirmed 31 cases of Covi-19, one recovery and one death.