Minister: First tourist plane makes it to KIA

22May 2020
The Guardian
Minister: First tourist plane makes it to KIA

​​​​​​​THE first plane with seven passengers including four tourists yesterday landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

It comes in the wake of a shift in the government’s position as it declared Tanzanian airspace open, moving away from Covid-19 closures.

Isack Kamwelwe, the minister for Works, Transport and Communications said here yesterday that from next Thursday tourism authorities expect to receive many more flights carrying tourists.

The Greece registered plane landed at the country’s second busiest airport at around 9 a.m. “The plane had four tourists and three crew members and have already been received and proceeded to view game,” he elaborated.

He said the ministry has a schedule of other incoming planes and bookings are already full, with many planes expected to land in the next few months.

“There are airlines that had already prepared for opening of air travel, including Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines and KLM. For those carrying cargo we started with Rwandair which transported fish fillets and today we have added an Ethiopian Airline plane that will transport 19 tonnes of fish fillets,” the minister specified.

Next Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines plane will fly to Mwanza to carry 40 tonnes of fish fillets, he further noted.

“Mwanza Airport is an international airport and is now open, so there will be international cargo flights. We are discussing with Livestock and Fisheries to facilitate beef exports by air,” he elaborated.

Air Tanzania Corporation Ltd (ATCL) was also finalizing procedures to start carrying commercial cargo to Europe, the minister noted.

On April 11, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) suspended all commercial flights following Covid-19 eruption.

However with a substantial improvement in the infections and hospitalisation situation, on Monday the government announced an immediate reopening of commercial flights.

This widens the arc for international travel and landings where earlier only humanitarian aid, diplomatic flights, emergency flights and other special flights would have been considered.

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