Kenya Airways suspends Rome, Geneva flights over coronavirus pandemic


Kenya Airways suspends Rome, Geneva flights over coronavirus pandemic
Kenya Airways planes are seen parked at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport near Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

In Summary

  • The move by the local carrier comes three days into the declaration of a sweeping nation-wide restrictions of travel and public life in Italy as the country struggles to contain the virus outbreak within its borders.
  • Kenya Airways says it remained engaged with government on assessing its network with respect to the ongoing global pandemic which has hit hard at the heart of continental Europe.
  • The suspension is set to hit the airline’s revenue with the carrier already counting a Ksh.820 million ($8 million) monthly loss from its January suspension of flights to the Chinese City of Guangzhou.

National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has suspended its flights on the Rome-Geneva route effective Friday, March 13 to end of April after an assessment to the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

The move by the local carrier comes three days into the declaration of a nationwide restriction of travel and public life in Italy as the country struggles to contain the virus outbreak within its borders.

KQ is expected to rebook affected customers on alternative flights or refund affected parties.

“For all our customers who have been affected by the suspension, we will rebook them on alternative flights, extend a full refund to those who would like to cancel their travel or waive booking fees for those willing to reschedule their flights with us to a later date,” noted the airline in a statement issued on Thursday.

Kenya Airways says it remains engaged with government on assessing its network with respect to the ongoing global pandemic which has hit hard in Europe.

“We continue our engagement with the relevant ministries and Government agencies in Kenya and across our network and will provide affected customers with updated information in a timely manner,” the carrier added.

“The situation remains dynamic and we are constantly monitoring any developments. In the meantime, all other flights operate as normal albeit some with an adjusted schedule.”

KQ revived its connection to Rome in June last year to incorporate Switzerland’s capital Geneva as the carrier sought to expand its revenue base.

The carrier further operates three more flights into Europe including Paris, Amsterdam and London.

The carrier runs a four-weekly service into Rome in a flight which is on occasion triangulated to the Geneva route.

The suspension is set to hit the airline’s revenue with the carrier already counting a Ksh.820 million ($8 million) monthly loss from its January suspension of flights to the Chinese City of Guangzhou.

The decision by Kenya Airways in co-ordination with government is however in line with responses by other countries and comes just hours into the implementation of a 30-day entry restriction on travel from the 26-country Schengen area by the US government.

Kenya Airways operates three other flights into Europe including Paris, Amsterdam and London.

Italy holds the second highest rate of coronavirus infections after China with 12,462 cases and 827 deaths.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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