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Tuesday , September 29 2020

“The Airport” is mourning

Working at less than a quarter of first stage plan

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 3: While the Kuwait International Airport was all geared up and set to resume operation for commercial flights of approximately 100 flights per day between departures and arrivals with 30% of workforce, the numbers decreased to less than 25 flights in past two days with issuance of ban on 31 countries until further notice.

Yesterday, just 9 flights arrived from Doha, Istanbul, London and Dubai, and 8 departed for Doha, Istanbul and Dubai, while on Sunday 12 flights departed and 11 arrived from different destinations.

The official spokesman of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Saad Al-Otaibi stated on Al Rai TV that flights are continuing according to the schedules set for departing or coming, except for flights coming from the 31 countries.

The DGCA had announced earlier that it is possible for expats to enter from the 31 countries if they spent 14 days in a third country which was not on the banned list.

Also a statement which was issued on Sunday, stated all expats coming in directly or on transit from banned country will not be allowed to enter unless they have spent 14 days in non banned country/countries and need to carry PCR test should be valid for 72 hrs from the date of test taken to date of entry into Kuwait.

Despite of threats and demand to prevent entry of some nationalities into Kuwait by some parliamentarians, the decision was welcomed leaving many unanswered questions on timing of the announcement.

Although the date of reopening of the airport was pompously announced more than a month, the delay in announcing the ban which was issued by the cabinet ministers decision disrupted travel plans not only in Kuwait but from several countries where passengers had gathered in their countries airports were forced to reschedule their flights in accordance to the official decision of Kuwait.

It was illogical to take such a decision of this size especially on a day when commercial flights were to resume. The sources were surprised at the government’s official announcement that “most countries’ policies of arrivals and departures for travelers are changing and are unpredictable.

The countries which are banned have not witnessed major changes in health status in the past two days, prompting the government to change its previous decision by limiting it to 7 countries.

The sources stated that the decision to prohibit entry of expats from 31 countries came in accordance to the instructions of the health authorities and in view of the situation in those countries, transparency of health authorities in dealing with the crisis and status of inability to control the spread marking it as high-risk country.

The list countries which are excluded from ban are considered more dangerous in terms of number of daily infections and spread in them.

The scene of confusion was not the first time which was witnessed, a similar decision was made in the beginning of corona crisis when those coming to Kuwait were told to carry PCR examination certificates then retracted it before shutting the airport completely.

The sources asked about the decision if it was related to decision making on health issues or was it related to inadequate technical preparation to open the airports with 30% workforce, especially as other Gulf countries have not taken similar decisions. This ban decision will have financial and legal implications in coming days.

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