Pressure piles on KQ as global airlines suspend China flights

•KQ has said it is not suspending its operations and instead, it will continue to monitor developments on the virus in Wuhan Province, China.

•Kenya Tourism Federation,Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) and the Kenyan Embassy in China have all called for temporary suspension of flights until the virus is contained. Kenya Airways is under pressure to suspend flights to China amid growing concern over the continued global spread of the deadly coronavirus.

KQ, as it is known by its international code, has said it is not suspending its operations and instead, it will continue to monitor developments on the virus in Wuhan Province, China.

This is despite calls by the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU), tourism players and the Kenyan Embassy in China to temporarily halt flights.

“We have implemented additional precautionary measures to ensure that our staff and customers are safe. These include screening of all passengers at the Guangzhou Airport,” management said in a statement.

According to the BBC, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 170, and a confirmed case in Tibet means it has reached every region in mainland China.

Chinese health authorities said there were 7,711 confirmed cases in the country as of 29 January.

Infections have also spread to at least 15 other countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet on Thursday to again consider whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency.

Air Tanzania has put on hold its maiden flight from Dar es Salaam to China over the virus. It had planned to begin charter flights next month.

Lufthansa, British Airways, American Airlines and Indonesian airline-Lion Air Group have suspended flights to cities in China.Others are FinnAir, United Airlines(US), Air Canada, South Korea’s Air Seoul, Air India and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific.The Kenya Tourism Federation(KTF), which represents seven sector bodies in the country, yesterday criticised KQ for continuing to fly to China, despite travel risks that could expose the country to the virus.KTF Chairman Mohammed Hersi said major airlines from countries with better health systems have suspended flights to China, yet KQ continues to fly even as the country remains unprepared for handling the virus.“Better be safe than sorry. Let’s not pretend we can deal with it (coronavirus). It will be terrible if it lands here and we never took the necessary measures. It will be disastrous,” Hersi said yesterday.KQ operates a Boeing 787-8 with a maximum capacity of 234 passengers on the Nairobi– Guangzhou route with […]

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