Move pleases travel offices, hotel sector
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 17: According to official sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), direct flights to and from Kuwait International Airport would start with all countries, including the 34 “banned” countries from January 2021. They indicated the start of flights to the country for domestic workers, stressing that it is expected that the health authorities will decide on institutional quarantine inside Kuwait in the coming days, in preparation for approval to start resuming direct flights next month.
The sources affirmed that health approvals are no longer based solely on arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in order to allow resumption of direct flights, but it also depends on the good management of the quarantine process by hotels and local institutions, as well as the ability and success of DGCA to manage the movement based on the plans set for a specific number of flights for each country.
The sources said, “The Ministry of Health is waiting to receive domestic workers on several fights in order to be able to assess the success of institutional quarantine, provided that the resumption of the trips is then approved directly, in anticipation of negative aspects or any potential chaos that increases the spread of the virus in the country.”
Meanwhile, sources from travel offices and hotel sector welcomed the move towards permitting direct flights, calling on the concerned authorities to reduce the period of mandatory institutional quarantine to 5-7 days instead of 14 days, especially since the entry condition requires passengers to have a PCR certificate to prove they are COVID-19 free, due to which there is no point in the currently-scheduled period. In this regard, a responsible source from the hotel sector expressed the readiness of all hotels to receive travelers coming to the country.
He explained that this would contribute to revitalizing the hotel sector during the coming period as soon as the airport is opened following a phase of closure that lasted for more than nine months during which local hotels incurred huge losses.
The process of stopping activity had operational repercussions that are not exempt from obligations and expenses despite the closure, especially since conference tourism is seemingly suspended, even after the resumption of work during the past three months, due to the health precautionary measures. Some travel agency officials are pinning great hopes on the resumption of operations at the airport, believing that the opening process will save the sector from bankruptcy, after it suffered actual agony.
Meanwhile the Directorate General of Civil Aviation denied opening direct flights for high-risk countries (34 banned countries) from January. DGCA states on its twitter account “It is not true what has been reported about the opening of direct flights from high-risk countries from January, as the list of 34 countries remains the same and has not changed.”