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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,3RD JUNE 2020-Regional carrier Jambojet has equipped its aircraft with air filtration systems in a bid to safeguard its passengers against contracting COVID-19 once flights resume.
Karanja Ndegwa, CEO of the national airline’s subsidiary, said in an emailed statement on Wednesday all Jambojet aircraft have been fitted with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration system which refresh the air every 3 minutes.
Ndegwa said the measures taken will also include thorough sanitation of aircraft with industry approved detergent before and after each flight with a special focus on all touch prone areas.
The announcement is seen as an anticipation of easing of travel restrictions ahead of the much-awaited June 6 address by President Uhuru Kenyatta when government is expected to issue further guidelines on current virus containment measures including cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera.
He said that upon resumption of flights, the airline will focus on ensuring the employees are protected from spread of the novel virus which has killed nearly 340,000 people out of the 2.6 million people infected globally.
In Kenya, 71 people have succumbed to the virus with 2,093 infections having been reported since March 13.
“Once we resume operations, we will ensure that we continue to follow the set guidelines by the Ministry of Health, WHO, IATA and other relevant bodies,” said Ndegwa.
“We remain committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees and customers from the moment they arrive at the airport to the time they land at their destination,” he emphasized.
In addition, the airline will conduct temperature checks on arrival on passengers at the airport. Hand sanitizers will also be provided at all customer service points.
“All passengers and crew will be required to wear facemask throughout the journey and observe social distancing on all queues and at the lounge. The Cabin Crew will assist passengers with opening and closing of the overhead bins to reduce touch,” Jambojet elaborated.
Passengers will be expected to make bookings online to reduce person-to-person contacts at the airport.
“We have also updated our boarding procedures, where passengers will be boarded by zone starting with those seating at the rear of the cabin,” he said.
President Kenyatta banned all international passenger flights on March 25 with the exception of cargo flights which are limited to three crew members.
Jambojet and other domestic airlines halted operations on April 7 when the directive on cessation of movement by road, rail or air in and out of the Nairobi and Mombasa, and later Kilifi Kwale and Mandera counties, took effect.
Meanwhile, an impact assessment analysis by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has predicted that the airline industry in Africa will suffer a revenue loss of US$8.103 billion – Sh860 billion – in 2020 as a result of disruption of flights.