Douala Airport on Standstill

Activities at the Douala International Airport have been grounded to a standstill following the closure of the land maritime and air borders due to the coronavirus outbreak. The usual hustle and bustle has given way to a deserted and desolate looking environment as only a few people have access to the facility. Access to the airport is strictly restricted only to staff and visitors upon appointment. It takes 72 hours to have an access card after submitting a request and the police control movements in an out of the edifice.

There are no carriers and carriages remain parked outside the airport. Same as the VIP taxis that used to ferry passengers from the airport to hotels. The visitors’ car park is full and from the nature of things, there are indications some of the vehicles have been parked there for so long. The commercial centre in the airport is closed due to lack of customers who were usually passengers and the passengers’ portals look deserted. Only one plane pertaining to the national carrier, CAMAIR CO could be found parked on the tarmac of the airport.

The only semblance of activity is at the freight department where there is a drastic drop in the volume of freight. According to the chief of service for freight, Beyene Jean Claude, passenger planes also used to carry freight but with the complete ban on passenger flights the volume of freight has consequently dropped. More so, he said even airline companies specialised in the transportation of freight, have reduced their frequency such as DHL, Magma, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airways cargo planes.

Concerning measures to prevent the spread of the corona virus, sterilisers and nose masks have been distributed to staff. Beyene Jean Claude said when a cargo plane arrives, there is a team from the Ministry of Public Health that conducts test on the flight team but since the cargo is not sterilised, it is left outside for two or three days purportedly for the virus to die, before taking the cargo into the warehouse for dispatching procedures.

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