Charter flights may operate before full opening of airport

by Linda Straker

  • 30 June 2020 as the possible date for re-opening the country’s borders
  • Hotels or groups can use a chartered option to land persons prior to 30 June

While Grenada puts the necessary health protocols in place for the opening of external borders in late June, Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, has recommended that hotels or groups can use a charter flight option to land persons at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).

“Charter flights will pose less of a challenge than commercial flights and may, therefore, be accommodated before the end of June, once all other recommended protocols and testing systems are in place,” he told various media personnel as he engaged in live interviews via web conferencing from his office on Thursday, 28 May 2020.

He explained that the charter option can be used by hotels and by Grenadians who are stuck in foreign lands and need to return before the formal opening of the lone airport. “Now if someone or a hotel is having a charter service to bring someone specifically to the hotel and they have the protocol already in place and the system in place for testing people when they come in, then they could come in, in June, that will be okay,” he said while speaking on PowerFM.

“If you’re coming with a commercial airline that is picking up passengers for any hotel in the country and having to go to any part of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, then clearly there is some additional work that must be done for the border to open,” he said.

He also explained that there are a number of protocols that have to be agreed upon and instituted before the borders can reopen. “We are working collaboratively with stakeholders to determine what conditions must be in place before we allow persons to enter the country. One such condition is ensuring that all hotels have appropriate sanitisation and other systems in place. We cannot open the borders if only one or two hotels are ready. There must be uniformity of practices as we continue to safeguard public health and safety,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that government has identified 30 June 2020 as the possible date for reopening the country’s borders. That will be a little more than 2 months since the decision was taken to lock down the country as part of the strategy to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Grenada’s first imported case was announced in mid-March. That person was someone from the United Kingdom. Grenada presently has 23 positive laboratory-confirmed cases.

A news release issued on Friday by the Government Information Service (GIS) said that the National Covid-19 Committee and the Tourism Sub-Committee of the Task Force for Rebuilding the Grenadian Economy are currently working with stakeholders in the tourism industry in preparation for the reopening.

During appearances on various media platforms this week, Dr Mitchell said 30 June is being considered as a practical option, but the actual date will depend on all the necessary protocols being in place. The Prime Minister repeatedly stated that while economic activity must resume, public health and safety are also of paramount importance.

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