African airlines stare at fresh storm
African Airlines are staring at a slowdown in business ahead of the festive season as nations impose new travel restrictions on South Africa and seven other countries due to a highly infectious new coronavirus strain.
The discovery of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in southern Africa has caused a panic move globally forcing nations to impose travel bans.
The European Union, the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, among other nations, have suspended flights to southern Africa while Singapore, Italy, and Israel have placed all of those nations, plus Mozambique, on their red lists.
Kenya Airways has said it will not fly passengers coming in from Southern African countries to Dubai after UAE stopped admission of persons from these countries to their territory.
Qatar Airways has announced that it has suspended flights to and from South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Zambia.
Rwanda became the first East African nation to suspend direct flights between Kigali and Southern African countries.
Kenya has enhanced screening of travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and Hong Kong with the health acting Director-General Patrick Amoth saying that they would be required to present proof of vaccination before being allowed in.
The global aviation industry had started showing signs of recovery as more countries opened their borders with an increase in the rate of vaccinations, giving hopes to the sector that was hit hard by the pandemic.