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Côte d’Ivoire to open airports to international flights on 1 July

Côte d’Ivoire says all passengers arriving on flights will be subject to health checks as the country seeks to relax measures to contain the global spread of disease

Côte d’Ivoire will reopen its airports to international flights on 1 July 2020, after allowing domestic flights to resume from 26 June, the country’s National Security Council has said.

“All passengers arriving on flights will be subject to health checks and systematic follow-up during their stay in Côte d’Ivoire,” the council said in a statement.

Côte d’Ivoire is home to Abidjan airport, one of West Africa’s busiest hubs, whiich connects flights across the region.

The country closed its land, sea and air borders on 22 March as the pandemic began to gain a foothold in sub-Saharan Africa.

But in recent weeks, countries in the West African bloc ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) have discussed opening up again with a phased approach during July.

Recovery

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says experts predict that the recovery in the second half of 2020 will come initially from domestic markets and then through a gradual opening up of international markets.

However, the global recession and weak consumer confidence will put pressure on the recovery in air travel demand.

African skies could recover earlier

Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, said that African skies could experience increased activity earlier than other continents because of the planned evacuation of people seeking to return home from across the world.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Gebremariam said of the return to operations: “Here in Africa we expect to be slightly faster in recovery.” This is against a backdrop of forecasts that will take up to two years for global flights to return to 2019 levels.

Air travel has been one of the worst affected economic centres. Most countries across the world closed their airspace to passenger flights save, in some instances, for medical and emergency landings.

Roughly 138,000 jobs are immediately at risk and US$1 billion in airline revenues has been lost, IATA said.

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