HARDLY three days after the government announced its decision to reopen the air space for international flights, a first charter plane with Greek tourists landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport yesterday.
The Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Eng Isack Kamwelwe, told reporters here yesterday that the plane landed at 9.00 am yesterday morning for a tourism mission in the northern circuit.
He said starting next Monday, more international commercial flights will be landing and taxing at a number of airports in the country.
“We expect more flights on May 27 and 28,” he said. Following a steady slowdown in coronavirus cases, the government has decided to reopen Tanzania’s airspace for commercial, diplomatic, aid, emergency and special mission flights with effect from Monday, this week.
Eng Kamwelwe named the airlines that will jet in on May 28 as Turkish, Emirates, Ethiopian and KLM.
The government decided to lift the initial temporary ban after considering all important measures and the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
He said the government had conducted thorough investigations and evaluations of the novel coronavirus as well as control measures over the spread of the disease.
In April, this year, the government suspended all international flights as one of the measures for curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
The airlines however, must ensure that all passengers have medical certificates that clear them of coronavirus infection.
The government has come up with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to ensure they protect both the public and visitors from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister said it was clear the number of new cases was dropping and thus the government had decided to open up the space to allow international flights from various parts of the world.
However, the minister said the government is seriously adhering to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as preventive measures and directives issued by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.
The minister directed the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) to inform the world aviation body on the government decision to open up its air space.
He added that the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) and Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO) must chart plans that will ensure close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in handling the airlines and all passengers who will jet in with tourists.
The minister said the opening of the air space also opens up other sectors, especially tourism, which is crucial for the country’s economic growth.