Are you flying into Ghana unvaccinated? It could cost your airline $3,500. The operator of the country’s main airport will now impose a hefty fine for every passenger that arrives without being vaccinated against COVID-19. Set to come into effect today, the policy follows a blanket vaccination mandate for all international arrivals.
KLM operates a once-daily flight between Amsterdam and Accra using either a Boeing 777 or 787. Photo: Getty Images.
The strictest measures in Africa?
Announced in a joint statement by the Ghana Health Service and Ghana Civil Aviation Authority on Monday, Accra’s Kotoka International Airport will be fining airlines $3,500 for every unvaccinated passenger flown into the country, effective today. According to Reuters, this new policy follows a move by the country’s health ministry that mandates all travelers entering Ghana be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Bloomberg also notes that this airline penalty will also be imposed on travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated – which would apply to recipients of two-dose vaccine-types who have only had one dose at the time of arrival. Authorities note that non-Ghanaian nationals not fully vaccinated could be denied entry and returned to the point of embarkation at a cost to the airline, while Ghanaians arriving without meeting the requirement will be allowed to enter the country and undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Furthermore, the media outlet reports that vaccinated passengers transported without negative PCR tests will also lead to fines against their respective carriers, while ABC News reports that airlines will be penalized if passengers fail to complete a health declaration form before boarding their flight to Kotoka International.
Kenya Airways operates several services to and through Accra from its hub at Nairobi. Photo: Getty Images
Stay informed:Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
The onus is on airlines to check passengers
As you can see, it is not individual passengers being fined but rather the airlines that transport them. This has become a more common practice throughout the crisis and something we’ve seen, particularly, in Hong Kong- which has imposed multi-week suspensions on airlines whose passengers are caught failing to comply with specific COVID requirements.
With airlines being the target of penalties, the responsibilities of ensuring proper documentation then fall on airline staff such as check-in agents and/or gate agents. While this might be a cause for increased stress and conflict when situations arise- it has been a fairly common practice for several months now, as vaccine requirements for travel become the norm.
The 787-8 is the leading aircraft for Qatar Airways’ Africa operations- flights to Accra included. Photo: Getty Images
Ultimately, the goal is to stop the spread of the coronavirus- a goal that has a renewed sense of urgency with the discovery of the Omicron variant. Unfortunately, much of Africa still finds itself unvaccinated due to the shortage of vaccine doses being distributed to the continent.
What do you think of this new policy for passengers arriving in Ghana- is the penalty too high or too low in your opinion? And does it make sense for airlines to receive the penalty? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment.
Did you miss our previous article…