Algeria has partially reopened its skies to commercial flights after 14 months in a bid to keep out the coronavirus.
The first flight of the national carrier, Air Algérie, took off for Paris on Tuesday and then landed later in the Algerian capital, Algiers.
The reopening has been an extremely cautious one with limited flights and strict requirements for passengers.
Those heading to Algiers must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test less than 36 hours before boarding, and all passengers must undergo a five-day quarantine in a hotel requisitioned by the state.
Expenses and meals at the hotel must be paid by the passengers and not everyone can board the infrequent flights.
A negative test result is required to leave the hotel.
While some passengers welcomed the measures that allowed them to enter into the country, some others didn’t find it comfortable.
An international student returning to Algeria for the holidays, Faouzi Mohamed is not satisfied. “You know, we did a first PCR test and we will have to do another one to maybe get out. I came for a 20-day vacation and I will have to lose 5 days in quarantine for nothing,” he said.
Another passenger, Dr. Rachid Kamli said “…things went well, and they had bought their tickets on the internet but the lack of communication from the Algerian airline company created a mess.”
In order to adhere to some stricts measures to curb covid-19 surge, the number of weekly flights and destinations is limited to five cities: Paris and Marseille in France, the Spanish city of Barcelona, the Tunisian capital, Tunis and Istanbul.
Other airlines, like Tunisair and Air France, are expected to add further flights of their own.