Tanzanian government has relaxed some restrictions on international flights to allow some categories of flight movements amid growing demand for the service, authorities say.
The relaxation touches repatriation flights, operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, technical landings where passengers do not disembark and other safety-related operations.
On April 11, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) suspended scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger flights into and out of the country in an effort to curb imported cases of Covid-19.
“We have been receiving a number of applications for repatriation flights that is why the government has decided to relax some restrictions,” the regulator’s director general, Mr Hamza Johari, told The Citizen.
Until Friday, United Sates, Turkey, UK, Lebanon, Pakistan and Ethiopia had arranged special flights and successful took home their citizens who were stranded in Tanzania.
According to the regulator, before relaxation of the restrictions, it could take up to two weeks for an airline to get the permit for repatriation flights and other related operations.
From next Thursday, May 14, airlines can secure a permit in no more than two hours given that all it hands in the required application documents.
Before, the process was complicated because the applications had to go through the Foreign Affairs ministry, and the defense and security authorities before TCAA issues the permit.
Only cargo flights were allowed into Tanzania on condition that crew members be quarantined at designated places by the government at their own cost for the duration of their stay.
TCAA said in its circular, which was made public last Thursday, that the government would authorise empty flights for repatriation of people on condition that the crew does not disembark.
“In case a complete routing flight duration requires crew change, it is advised to deploy two sets of crew to work in rotation in order to minimise chances of being subjected to a mandatory quarantine,” Mr Johari said in the circular.
All travellers whether foreigners or returning residents entering Tanzania are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at their own cost at designated facilities identified by the government.
After the 14 days of mandatory quarantine, passengers with no symptoms of Covid-19 are allowed to leave the facilities after registering their personal information for future follow-up.
According to the circular, all travellers will be subjected to intensive screening, including rapid testing for Covid-19 if deemed necessary.
Air Tanzania Company Limited's (ATCL) chartered flights will leave Tanzania for India next Thursday to bring home stranded Tanzanians.