Liberia: Kenya Airways Resuming Liberia Route Oct. 24, Air Ivoire On Course

Photo: Capital FM Kenya airways to resume flights to West Africa (file photo). Photo: Capital FM
Kenya airways to resume flights to West Africa (file photo).[/caption] Monrovia — Relief is on the way for travelers out of Liberia and Sierra Leone looking to book a flight to neighboring Ghana, Nigeria and other neighboring states. FrontPageAfrica has learned that the East African airliner, Kenyan Airways is poised to be the second airline to resume flights to Ebola-stricken Liberia. The airline has penciled in October 24th, 2014 as its tentative date for the resumption of flights to Liberia, Airport Authority sources confirmed Tuesday. Addressing the 69th United Nations General Assembly Monday, Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan singled out Kenya and Ivory Coast for relaxing travel restrictions and the announcement of the resumption of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Liberia Airport Authority sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Tuesday that Kenya has already notified airport authorities that it intends to resume flights on the 24th of October. Air Cote D’Ivoire is expected to resume within a week. Minister Ngafuan told the UNGA Monday that the suspension of flights as well as the travel and other restrictions/sanctions imposed on Liberia and other affected countries, contrary to expert advice from WHO and others, did not only undermine the humanitarian efforts aimed at quickly containing the disease, but also aggravated the adverse economic effects of the Ebola crisis. “The announcement of contributions and the airlift of critically needed protective equipment and supplies to Liberia and other affected countries by many governments, international NGOs, corporations, and philanthropists. The expressions of solidarity have taken many forms and we are deeply grateful for all of them.” A wave of canceled flights But Minister Ngafuan cautioned that these efforts and those earlier provided by many other governments and institutions like the African Development Bank (AfDB) should not lead Liberia toward complacency because the country has not yet achieved the twenty-fold increase in response recommended by the experts to contain the disease. Kenya, Airways was among a number of key regional airlines which canceled flights to Ebola-hit nations at the height of the outbreak. The suspension took effect on Aug. 19, 2014. Kenya Airways, which is a part-owned by Air France-KLM, flies a total of seven times a week to the two cities through Accra. Kenya withstood pressure despite the pullout of its peers flying Liberia and Sierra Leone but was forced to bow to pressure on the advice of the Kenyan Ministry of Health which reported four suspected cases of Ebola in Kenya had tested negative for the virus. The first case was a Liberian national, traveling to India through Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta airport, while the second case was that of a Nigerian national who came to Kenya on Aug. 8, the ministry said in a statement. A Zimbabwean who works in South Africa and was traveling to Sierra Leone made up the third case, while a second Nigerian national was also admitted to hospital with Ebola-like symptoms. Air Côte D’Ivoire, Nigeria’s Arik Air, Togo’s ASKY Airlines, British Airways, Emirates Airlines and Kenya Airways have together cancelled a combined 76 scheduled flights to Guinea, 70 to Liberia and 70 to Sierra Leone. To date, only Royal Air Maroc and SN Brussels are flying in and out of Liberia. Passengers looking to travel to Ghana and other neighboring states have been forced to pay almost US$2,000 one way. Of 590 monthly flights scheduled to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, 216 were cancelled, according to OAG, an airline data provider. Although 14 cases of Ebola were reported in Nigeria, flights to and from the country were not affected. Nigeria declared last week that it is Ebola free. Experts warn against Isolation International stakeholders have cautioned that isolation is an endangerment to relief efforts for West African countries at the heart of the Ebola outbreak, which have been virtually sealed off from the world amid border closures and empty airports as airline routes were suspended. Experts at the World Health Organization and other relief agencies have been warning for weeks that the flight cancellations will hamper the Ebola effort. But the warnings were ignored. The travel ban and cancellations are unnecessary because the risk of a passenger carrying Ebola is extremely low, according to the WHO and other experts. Only one such incident has been reported so far. Last Friday, Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara, in his address to the UN General Assembly, said his country will lift the controversial suspension of flights to countries stricken by the Ebola virus to show solidarity with the nations affected by the lethal outbreak. Ouattara said the initial decision to suspend flights was prompted by uncertainty about the threat, which he called a terrible problem for the people of West Africa. “When Ebola first broke out, people got panicked,” he said. “Obviously we rushed to make certain decisions. Now that everything is under control – there is no case of Ebola in Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) – I have decided that next week we will lift the suspension of flights and the maritime suspension.” Ivory Coast has also opened a “humanitarian corridor” so that people who want to enter Ivory Coast can be checked. The country has also contributed $1m to the international anti-Ebola effort. Outtarra explained that initial concerns were prompted by Ivory Coast’s shared borders with two countries – Guinea and Liberia – hit by Ebola. “I think we are the only country that has two Ebola countries to its borders and we have to really work on its prevention and we are very grateful to President Obama – the Centre for Disease Control has sent two experts to work on this control,” he said. “We are trying to work on specific measures to contain and to prevent.”

How Ebola Has Affected The African Skies Mauritius: – Restriction of entry of national from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Congo unless prior approval was obtained from the Passport and Immigration Office. Cameroon: Has reopened its borders to travelers from Senegal. A ban remains in place on travel from Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states comprising: – Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – have stated that travelers coming from Ebola-affected countries would be monitored for 21 days and that travel to member countries for any gatherings would be discouraged. Namibia Foreigners travelling from countries affected by Ebola are prohibited from entering the country. Gambia: Banned persons who have visited Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Nigeria in the 21 days prior to travel. Those travelling indirectly from any of the affected countries to Gambia via another country are also banned. Gabon: Restricting the issuance of entry visas to travelers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria on a case-by-case basis.
Cape Verde: Nationals from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia are banned from entering the country for the next three months. All non-residents who have visited Ebola-affected countries, including Congo (DRC), and Senegal are banned from entering Cape Verde. Senegal: Has closed its land border with Guinea, while the country’s sea and air borders will also be closed to vessels and aircraft from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Chad: Closed its land border with Nigeria at Lake Chad. Previously banned the entry of travelers from or transiting through Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria or Sierra Leone, with airlines serving the country reportedly rerouting flights. B) Flights and other transport Countries that have implemented Ebola-related travel restrictions: Gambia – banned the entry of flights from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Gabon – banned the entry of flights and ships from countries affected by Ebola. Senegal has banned flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cameroon has banned flights to and from Nigeria. Chad has suspended all flights from Nigeria. Côte D’Ivoire has banned all passenger flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria has suspended flights to the country operated by Gambian national carrier Gambia Bird. Airlines that have restricted flights to Ebola-affected countries: Air France, suspended flights to Sierra Leone from 28 August. Asky Airlines has suspended flights to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Arik Air (Nigeria), Gambia Bird and Kenya Airways have suspended services to Liberia and Sierra Leone. British Airways has extended their suspension of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 December. Ceiba Intercontinental, the National airline of Equatorial Guinea, has reportedly suspended flights to West African countries. In addition, the airline has suspended flights to Cameroon’s capital Douala from 1 September. Emirates Airlines has suspended flights to Guinea. Korean Air suspended flights to and from Kenya from 20 August. Senegal Airlines has suspended flights to and from Conakry (Guinea) until further notice Airlines that have modified their routes, but are still operating regular scheduled services include: Royal Air Maroc Brussels Airlines *Source Allafrica

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