The Tanzanian government has relaxed some restrictions on international flights.
The move is intended to allow some categories of flight movements amid growing demand for the service, authorities say.
The relaxation will affect repatriation flights, operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, technical landings where passengers do not disembark and other safety-related operations.
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) suspended both scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger flights into and out of the country on April 11 in an effort to curb imported cases of Covid-19.
“We have been receiving a number of applications for repatriation flights [and] that is why the government has decided to relax some restrictions,” TCAA Director-General Hamza Johari told The Citizen.
Until Friday, United Sates, Turkey, UK, Lebanon, Pakistan and Ethiopia had arranged special flights and successfully flew home their citizens who were stuck in Tanzania.
According to the regulator, before relaxation of the conditions, it could take up to two weeks for airlines to get a permit for repatriation flights and other related operations.
Airlines can now secure a permit in no more than two hours.
Before, the process was complicated because the applications had to go through the Foreign Affairs ministry, defence and security authorities before TCAA issued the permit.
Previously, only cargo flights were allowed on condition that crew members were quarantined at designated places by the government at their own cost for the duration of their stay.
In its circular which was made public on Thursday, TCAA said that the government would authorise empty flights for the purpose of picking up passengers with crew not being allowed to disembark.
“In case a complete routing flight duration requires crew change, it is advised to deploy two sets of crew to work on rotation in order to minimise chances of being subjected to a mandatory quarantine,” Mr Johari said in a circular.
He added that flights for the purpose of picking Tanzanian citizens or residents who are stranded in foreign countries will be authorised.
All travellers, whether foreigners or returning residents entering Tanzania, will be subjected to a mandatory isolation for 14 days at their own cost at designated facilities identified by the government.
After 14 days of mandatory quarantine, passengers with no symptoms of Covid-19 will be allowed to leave the facilities after registering their personal information for future follow-up.
According to the circular, all travellers will be subjected to an intensive screening including rapid testing for Covid-19 if deemed necessary.
Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL)’s chartered flights will leave Tanzania for India on Thursday to bring home nationals stranded in the south Asian country amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.