As countries around the world are considering reopening of their airports to both domestic and international flights, hopes are high that the country’s only airport, the Banjul International Airport (BIA), will reopen by the end of October, but under tight health related regulations against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
This information is contained in a review Report presented to the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 on the 3rd September, 2020 by Hon. Bai Lamin Jobe, Minister for Transport, Works and Infrastructure.
Newly installed communication gadgets at the Control Tower
The Report particularly highlights how the re-opening of BIA is important for the tourist season in The Gambia, which peaks around October and ends around April. During this period the airport usually processes significant traffic in terms of passenger, cargo, and aircraft movements.
However, under the current state of public emergency, declared by H.E. the President on 27 August for 21 days, to last up to 16 September 2020, the airport is closed; only cargo, medical and special flight operations are approved by special permits issued by the Executive. These approvals are forwarded to GCAA to relay the Landing Permits to the concerned air carrier.
Renovations ongoing at the main Terminal Building
According to the Report, in the event that the airport is re-opened, preventive and mitigation measures must be in place, such as quarantine, in order to enhance safe and efficient operations of air transport, pilots and crew.
The report states that pilots and crew can be quarantined in either of the following ways: to remain on board the aircraft during turnaround times and be in position on the aircraft where they won’t interact with cleaners.
In the event where they have to stay overnight, they will be taken to a hotel, lodged in separate rooms and confined for the duration of the night. Their period of quarantine will not be more than their required stay for the return flight, the Report explains.
All persons (arriving and departing) are required to have negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate conducted within 72 hours prior to arrival or departure.
The Report states that each passenger above the age of 16 and travelling alone will be required to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF). Persons under 16 years old and traveling with a guardian/parent may not need to complete their own Form, provided that: they will arrive and leave together; they will stay at the same address in The Gambia; and the details of their dependents are included in the guardian’s/parent’s Form. The Passenger Locator Form (or Traveler Screening Form) will have the following information requirements: passport information, travel details, including times and dates and a Negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate.