Ebola: Kenya Airways To Resume Flights To Liberia On Oct. 24

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

From FrontPageAfrica

Relief is on the way for travelers out of Liberia and Sierra Leone looking to book a flight to neighboring Ghana, Nigeria and other neighboring states. FrontPageAfrica has learned that the East African airliner, Kenyan Airways is poised to be the second airline to resume flights to Ebola-stricken Liberia. The airline has penciled in October 24th, 2014 as its tentative date for the resumption of flights to Liberia, Airport Authority sources confirmed Tuesday.

Addressing the 69th United Nations General Assembly Monday, Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan singled out Kenya and Ivory Coast for relaxing travel restrictions and the announcement of the resumption of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Liberia Airport Authority sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Tuesday that Kenya has already notified airport authorities that it intends to resume flights on the 24th of October. Air Cote D’Ivoire is expected to resume within a week.

Minister Ngafuan told the UNGA Monday that the suspension of flights as well as the travel and other restrictions/sanctions imposed on Liberia and other affected countries, contrary to expert advice from WHO and others, did not only undermine the humanitarian efforts aimed at quickly containing the disease, but also aggravated the adverse economic effects of the Ebola crisis.

“The announcement of contributions and the airlift of critically needed protective equipment and supplies to Liberia and other affected countries by many governments, international NGOs, corporations, and philanthropists. The expressions of solidarity have taken many forms and we are deeply grateful for all of them.”

A wave of canceled flights

But Minister Ngafuan cautioned that these efforts and those earlier provided by many other governments and institutions like the African Development Bank (AfDB) should not lead Liberia toward complacency because the country has not yet achieved the twenty-fold increase in response recommended by the experts to contain the disease.

Kenya, Airways was among a number of key regional airlines which canceled flights to Ebola-hit nations at the height of the outbreak. The suspension took effect on Aug. 19, 2014. Kenya Airways, which is a part-owned by Air France-KLM, flies a total of seven times a week to the two cities through Accra.

Kenya withstood pressure despite the pullout of its peers flying Liberia and Sierra Leone but was forced to bow to pressure on the advice of the Kenyan Ministry of Health which reported four suspected cases of Ebola in Kenya had tested negative for the virus.

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