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Tuesday , December 7 2021

Ban ‘extension’ puts travel, hotel sectors in huge losses

Depends on current situation: DGCA

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 23: The commercial aviation traffic was scheduled to resume on Monday with several countries after a year-long suspension, and it was decided to receive passengers coming from these countries and place them under institutional quarantine for a period of 14 days.

However, a few hours before the decision came into effect, there was a state of confusion, as the agencies operating at the airport received a letter from the health authorities stating that the ban on the entry of non-Kuwaitis should be extended until further notice, reports Al-Qabas daily. This decision cast a frustrating financial burden on the hundreds of travelers who booked through the “Kuwait Traveler” platform and whose numbers reached 2,500, according to sources in the aviation sector.

Travel and tourism agencies as well as hotels incurred losses of nearly one million dinars as a result of cancellation of tickets and hotel reservations. In this regard, informed sources explained that the decision was reversed after the health authorities reported that the health conditions require an extension of the ban on non-Kuwaitis from entering the country due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and the spread of new strains in many countries of the world, which required preservation of the health system.

At the airport level, air traffic witnessed remarkable regularity and calm yesterday, as 35 flights arrived and 34 departed. The condition of institutional quarantine was applied to the returning citizens, and some incoming flights transported a limited number of passengers, with the exception of domestic workers.

A number of people expressed their satisfaction over the way the arrival procedures were carried out as well as the way medical tests were conducted easily by the local laboratory staff. Director of Operations Department at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Mansour Al-Hashemi affirmed that instructions were issued, after assessing the epidemiological situation, to continue with the ban in accordance with health procedures and controls.

Regarding how to deal with the canceled flights and passengers whose reservations have been canceled, Al- Hashemi said, “According to the operating flights, this is a normal thing when restarting in line with the current requirements. Returning tickets to travelers is a joint matter of the company and the traveler”. He refused to forecast a date for the issuance of the decision to lift the ban on the entry of non-Kuwaitis, indicating that it depends on the current situation.

Meanwhile, private hotel cars were present yesterday in the airport buildings to transport the arriving citizens to the sites of their institutional quarantine amid strict measures to meet the health and preventive requirements.

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