By Samuel Ouma
Kenya Airways (KQ) has provided a special charter flight to evacuate Kenyans stranded in India due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The majority of Kenyans struck in India are patients and their caregivers.
The plane will leave Mumbai for Nairobi on June 10 at 9:30 am and would be expected to touch down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fifteen minutes past one during the day.
Only passengers with a negative RT-PCR test report and a QR code will be allowed to board the plane, announced the airline.
“This will be happening on a case by case basis as approved by the government,” said KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka.
Passengers will be forced to dig deep into their pockets to cater to the hiked transportation fee as each person must pay ksh120,000 ($1200).
A one-way ticket from India before the pandemic outbreak used to cost an individual between ksh31,000 and ksh36000 ($310-360).
In 2020, the carrier charged between ksh90,000 and ksh100,000 ($900-1000).
There are fears that not all stranded Kenyan will manage to fly back to the country on Thursday. The majority told the Nation that they cannot afford the plane ticket.
“The flight is already full … I brought my four-year-old daughter, Ruby Jayne Magati, to this country two months ago for an urgent eye surgery that was very expensive. I am unable to afford tickets back home. My husband too is not in a position to raise money for two tickets,” the Nation quoted Linda Bosibori Magati.
On April 30, 2021, Kenya temporarily suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai due to an upsurge in coronavirus infections in the South Asian country.
“All passenger flights between India and Kenya are suspended. Only Kenyans and Indians who are residents in Kenya are allowed to travel from India to Kenya, provided they possess a Covid-19 PCR negative test result conducted within 96 hours before travel and submit an antigen test on arrival,” announced Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA)
Statistics show that India has recorded more than 28 million Covid-19 cases and above 350,000 Covid-19 related deaths.