NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – Kenya Airways has suspended its services to France – Charles de Gaulle Airport and the Netherlands – Schiphol Airport through the month of February 2021.
In a statement, the national carrier says the suspension is due to the new COVID-19 regulations in Europe that have resulted in depressed demand.
The airline expects to resume regular services to France on 3 March 2021 and to the Netherlands on 7 March 2021.
“We will keep customers updated in case of any changes to these resumption plans,” the airline said in the statement.
This comes 24 hours after EU leaders “strongly discouraged” Europeans from non-essential travel and warned tougher restrictions on trips could come within days if efforts to curb the coronavirus fell short.
EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel issued the warning after a four-hour summit by video link with the heads of government of the 27-nation bloc focused on responding to the second wave of the pandemic.
According to a report filed by AFP, the tone of urgency was fuelled by fears over the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants that could send already high infection rates skyrocketing and strain hospitals, as is happening in former EU member Britain.
“All non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged both within the country and of course across borders,” von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, told a media conference.
Michel, president of the European Council, said: “It will be probably necessary to take additional restrictive measures in order to limit the non-essential travels and that is the orientation that we are taking.”
Both added that further coordination on that issue would be made in “the next days”.
But both also said the EU wanted to avoid a repeat of the height of the first wave, in March last year, when several member states panicked and closed off national borders unilaterally, triggering travel and economic chaos.
But to avoid closing the intra-EU borders in the passport-free Schengen zone, testing needs to be stepped up, leaders agreed.
From Sunday, anybody arriving from outside the EU — possible only for those with essential reasons — could have to have a test for Covid-19 before departure, von der Leyen said.
According to the news agency, within the EU, some countries will apply prior testing for cross-border trips that do not come under essential categories such as workers and truck drivers.
From Sunday France will require a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure for most European arrivals other than those on essential travel, President Emmanuel Macron told the European Council, according to his office.