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Jordan, July 27, 2020
International flights will resume on August 5 with set rules

AMMAN — International flights will resume on August 5 and airports are ready to receive international passengers, according to Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission (CARC) Chief Commissioner Captain Haitham Misto.

Transport Minister Khaled Saif announced on Sunday that the government is attempting to start flights with 22 countries in the green zone in regard to COVID-19, with ongoing diplomatic discussion between the Foreign Ministry and those countries to start in-bound and out-bound flights with them.

Flights will resume with the list of countries that the Health Ministry categorised as being in the green zone, Misto said in a phone interview with The Jordan Times on Sunday.

The Health Ministry is the sole entity responsible for the list, and CARC will update the list of green-zone countries every two weeks, based on information received from the ministry, he said.

'Passengers coming to the Kingdom are required to take the PCR test 72 hours prior to their flight to Jordan, and take another test upon arrival,' Misto said.

Passengers must also fill a form, in which they write down their residence for the last 14 days in the country they are travelling from, and whether they were in touch with a person who exhibited COVID-19 symptoms or if they have any symptoms.

'Upon arrival a second test will be given to all arrivals for the first week of reopening. If all goes well and we have no conflicts in the home and arrival tests, then the required arrival PCR test will be cancelled,' said Misto.

Each country has its own rules for passengers arriving from other countries, and there is no standard methodology that is applied to all countries, Misto said, noting 'there are no standard measures agreed upon by all countries'.

Passengers flying abroad must also commit to the rules of that country, he added.

'If a Jordanian wants to travel to a red zone country, they can do that, it is allowed with no restrictions whatsoever; however, upon their return, the standards the Kingdom has set will apply to them, including quarantine,' Misto said.

The commission supervises that all rules are followed in the airports, as well as, cargo and passengers flights, and ensures all employees and passengers commit to the rules as well.

'However, all measures implemented cannot prevent the danger, they are meant to mitigate the danger of spreading the virus, so what we do is risk management and mitigation, but prevention is impossible,' the captain said.

Therefore, all involved entities must commit to the guidance materials issued by CARC in order to keep the flights ongoing, improve passengers' trust and make sure airlines have revenue to continue their flights, Misto said.

'It is not expected that many people will be travelling at first, especially if it is for leisure and not essential, so demand could be low and flights will most probably not be at full capacity,' he said.

To improve trust, Misto said there will be physical distancing rules applied in the airports, there will be thermal testing devices at certain points, and people are expected to heed the usual health rules of wearing masks and gloves.

The commission will also ensure that airport and plane facilities are sterilised according to the set standards, with proper materials, to ensure passenger safety.

'An airport company or airline company issues standard operation procedures (SOPs), and for CARC, it is not sufficient that an airline issued SOPs, we want to first ensure they comply with our guidance material, that they are implemented properly and that the employees are trained for their implementation,' Misto said.

'The supervision goes into the minute details; including whether thermal devices are used properly, and if someone has a temperature above 39 Celsius, how are they dealt with, how are they isolated, and so on and so forth,' he concluded.

jordantimes