Coronavirus impacts Kenya’s air travel as bookings tumbleMarch 5, 2020
Mar 4 – Kenya’s
air travel has recorded a 6 percent decline in traveler bookings owing to the
global outbreak of the coronavirus.
Kenya Association of Travel
Agents chairperson Mohammed Wanyoike says the Association expects the decline to
continue, even as the country effects more travel restrictions over fears of
“We are expecting
this number to increase in short term as travel restrictions come into effect
to key markets and destinations as witnessed in China, South Korea, Iran, Saudi
Arabia and Italy,” he said.
Wanyoike’s sentiments come less
than 24 hours after the government suspended direct flights from northern Italy
where at least 79 people have died.
Kenya’s national carrier Kenya
Airways already banned flights to China, weeks before a court action barred
China Southern Airline from flying to the country.
Wanyoike said the agency hopes the
travel restrictions and advisories will be temporary measures to help
contain the virus that has so far killed over 3,200 people worldwide. More than
94,000 people have been infected in 81 countries and territories.
On a continental level, the
Association noted that intra-Africa travel has been unaffected and remains
Despite the massive losses
being faced, Wanyoike said the Association said it has no intention of firing
its workers but will opt to send them on compulsory leave should the scenario
continue to worsen.
“None of our workers have been
sent home but if the numbers continue declining, we will be asking them to take
leave, but they will be paid during their time,” he said.
To maximize on future business,
Wanyoike says the agency has provided re-booking options to travelers.
“We are also calling upon
travelers to engage directly with KATA for them to receive credible information
to guide their travel decisions,” Wanyoike stated.