Department of Civil Aviation Discussing Possibility of Reopening Airports
The Department of Civil Aviation is reportedly under pressure to reopen air travel since there is no predictable end to Covid-19, as other countries have reopened with some about to do the same.
Zodiak Online has come across a letter in which the Department is responding to a request by the Kenya Airways to resume its flights in Malawi by 1st August, 2020.
Acting Director of Aviation at the Department of Civil Aviation James Chakwera confirmed this saying “the letter was actually written on 27th July, in response to the airlines request to allow them land in the country,” says Chakwera.
The department has turned down Kenya Airways request on grounds that it is still monitoring the situation and trends of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Chakwera says the matter is currently under discussion adding that the decision to re-open the country's airports will be known by August end.
He however admits that life has to go on considering that there is no predictable end to the pandemic.
“I can agree that life has to go on and reopening is a good move. However, we have to find proper ways of doing it that when we can, we should be sure of the safety of our staff, those coming in and travelling out,” explained Chakwera.
While acknowledging the intensity of the COVID-19 in Malawi, Economic Expert Ben Kalua feels reopening of airports could largely help in healing the country’s economy.
“Businesses have been affected largely and Kenya must be feeling the pinch too. While the pandemic rages on we still have to move on. Re-opening of airports will help even government to have access to some essentials to help in the fight against the pandemic,” explained Kalua.
However, health rights analyst Maziko Matemba cautions that the science around the pandemic should not be ignored at all cost citing experts' projections that the cases are expected to increase to higher levels in August.
“Those discussing this matter should include the science around the pandemic especially with a warning by health experts that cases will increase to greater levels in the coming months. Then we should weigh the risks that are there to see if we should open or not. Other countries have opened while some have not, hopefully because the risk is still there,” says Matemba
Meanwhile, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea are slowly opening up for commercial flights, with South Africa and Somalia only set for domestic flights.