Air Cote d’Ivoire will resume flights to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia later this month, making it easier for aid workers to travel to the countries worst hit by Ebola after most carriers scrapped their routes.
The airline partly owned by Air France-KLM will fly to Guinea from Oct. 20, spokeswoman Ruth Domagni said by phone from Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital. The carrier will offer services to Monrovia in Liberia and Freetown in Sierra Leone from Oct. 26, she said.
Most regional and international carriers stopped serving the countries after an infected Liberian man flew to Nigeria and introduced the Ebola virus there in July. The worst outbreak on record has killed about 4,500 people, with the vast majority of cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.
Brussels Airlines NV is the only European airline that still serves the three nations. Local safety precautions and the airline’s passenger-screening procedures are proving effective, Chief Executive Officer Bernard Gustin said Oct. 16.
While the Ebola outbreak has curbed general travel to the region, that’s been offset by a surge in trips related to the relief effort, leaving overall demand little changed, Gustin said. Aid workers and people on medical missions now make up a majority of customers on some flights, he said.
–With assistance from Pauline Bax in Accra.
To contact the reporter on this story: Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at email@example.com.