The Ministry of Health (MoH) decided to place a limit of 35 passengers on each flight or 1,000 passengers per day to Kuwait International Airport, which prompted a huge spike in prices of air tickets, while some airlines cancelled their scheduled flights due to the economic inefficiency of commercial operation, Al Qabas daily reported. It is estimated that around 60,000 travel reservations were cancelled.
Airlines were required to reduce the number of passengers arriving at Kuwait International Airport from January 24 to February 6 under the directives of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with domestic workers and transit passengers exempt from the decision, the operating capacity of flights departing from the country not changed.
In this regard, a responsible source told Al-Qabas daily that the spread of the mutated Coronavirus, and the rising suspicions of fraud where some passengers coming from some airports to Kuwait are submitting false negative PCR tests, prompted the health authorities to increase the controls on all arrivals by testing them at the airport before permitting them entry to the country.
The daily reported that the flight schedules will change, and may reach up to 15 flights coming to the country only, due to some airlines cancelling their flights to Kuwait due to the economic inefficiency of commercial operation. The decision may be withdrawn whenever private laboratories are available at the airport, as preparations are ongoing.
The commercial operation in the first phase stipulates the arrival of about 5,000 passengers per day, and with this decision, the rate of arrivals will be reduced by about 80%, so arrivals do not exceed 1000 passengers per day.
A member of the Travel and Tourism Bureau, Abdul Rahman Al-Kharafi, revealed to Al-Qabas that about 60,000 tickets will be cancelled after the implementation of the decision on Sunday, which he considered “ill-conceived”, given that many travellers were scheduled to return on prior reservations in the coming days.
He mentioned that ticket prices will reach unprecedented levels, in light of some companies cancelling scheduled flights, saying, “The price of one ticket will reach KD1000 dinars for those coming from some nearby airports.”
Three economic implications
The decision has economic impacts in:
1 – A huge increase in the price of tickets.
2 – Airline companies cancelling some scheduled flights due to poor economic viability in commercial operation.
3 – Cancelling about 60,000 travel tickets.
3 reasons for cutting flights
A source confirmed to Al-Qabas that there is keen interest on health security in the country, referring to the reasons for taking the decision:
1 – The emergence of the mutated virus, which began to spread rapidly in several countries.
2 – Suspicions of fraud in the PCR tests for passengers coming from some airports abroad.
3 – Setting up provisions for supervision for testing arrivals by the Ministry of Health.