Kenya’s domestic air travel operators on Wednesday said the industry could take up to three years to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Eutychus Waithaka, executive secretary of Kenya Association of Air Operators told Xinhua in Nairobi that out of the more than 1,200 aircrafts registered in the country, about 80 percent are not operational due to the travel restrictions in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The most affected air operators are those that cater for passengers for tourism and business travel,” Waithaka said. He revealed that the operators least affected are those in the cargo space as airfreight is considered an essential service. According to Waithaka, the travel sector has been affected since March 2020 to date and so the sector will require an economic stimulus package in order to restart and recover.

According to the industry, Kenya’s travel operators are disadvantaged as compared to their peers in developed countries that are manufacturers of aircraft and their spare parts.”We still have to maintain the aircraft even for those not flying in order to ensure our safety standards are preserved,” Waithaka added.

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Xinhua News Agency, Xinhuanet is an important central news service-oriented website, an important information organ of the central government, and an important platform for building up China's online international communication capacity. Established on November 7, 1997, as an online news provider of the Xinhua News Agency, it was officially named Xinhuanet on March 10, 2000 and began around-the-clock news release with leading online public opinion at home and setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.

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