Jordan reopens main airport after six-month shutdown to combat coronavirus

Jordan reopens main airport after six-month shutdown to combat coronavirus
A health worker checks a passenger arriving at Queen Alia International Airport after a regular international flights resume after a closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Amman, Jordan, Sept. 8, 2020. (The Prime Ministry Office via Reuters)
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Updated 08 September 2020

Jordan reopens main airport after six-month shutdown to combat coronavirus

Jordan reopens main airport after six-month shutdown to combat coronavirus
  • Passengers entering need proof of negative COVID-19 test, alongside compulsory test on arrival

AMMAN: Jordan resumed regular international flights on Tuesday after being suspended for nearly six months because of the novel coronavirus epidemic, officials said.
They said Queen Alia international airport would initially handle six flights a day before expanding to ensure that airport authorities can enforce strict social distancing and other health rules.
The government had repeatedly postponed reopening Jordan’s main airport, a regional hub which normally handles around nine million passengers annually, over fears that travelers could bring about an increase in infections.




Health workers wait for the passengers to check them at Queen Alia International Airport after a regular international flights resume after a closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Amman, Jordan, Sept. 8, 2020. (The Prime Ministry Office via Reuters)

The airport, however, was open for repatriation flights arranged for citizens in the Gulf and Europe and also for foreigners resident in Jordan who want to leave.
Passengers entering Jordan would need proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel, alongside a compulsory test on arrival, officials said.
The rules would include a minimum of one week of self-isolation to a maximum two weeks of quarantine for foreign travelers depending on the severity of the pandemic in countries they came from.




A health worker checks a passenger arriving at Queen Alia International Airport after a regular international flights resume after a closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Amman, Jordan, Sept. 8, 2020. The Prime Ministry Office via Reuters)

Although Jordan has seen a spike in infections in the last few weeks, the country remains one of the least affected in the Middle East, with 2,581 infections and 17 deaths.
The closure of the airport since mid March has worsened the economic damage wrought by the pandemic on Jordan’s aid-dependent economy.
Tourism is a major source of foreign currency and had been enjoying an unprecedented boom before the pandemic.


Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case
Updated 20 January 2021

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case
  • Trial is trying to piece together the details of how former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in December 2019

ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court on Wednesday resumed the trial of seven Turkish suspects accused of helping smuggle former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn “in a large musical instrument case” from Japan to Lebanon.
The trial is trying to piece together the details of how Ghosn — a French-Lebanese-Brazilian national who was a global business superstar when his career came crashing to an end — fled Japan in December 2019 while out on bail facing financial misconduct charges.
The 66-year-old fugitive was arrested in November 2018 and spent 130 days in prison before completing an audacious escape act that humiliated Japanese justice officials and raised questions about who was involved.
The hearing concerns an employee with Turkey’s MNG Jet private airline who allegedly used four pilots and two flight attendants to move Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul.
The pilots and the MNG Jet employee are accused of “illegally smuggling a migrant” and face up to eight years in jail. A hearing in July released them on bail but barred them from leaving Turkey.
The two flight attendants are accused of failing to report a crime and face one-year sentences.
All seven suspects deny the charges.
The indictment says the escape plan from Japan to Lebanon involved a stopover in Istanbul instead of a direct flight “so as not to arouse suspicions.”
Former US Green Beret member Michael Taylor and his son Peter are accused together with Lebanese national George-Antoine Zayek of recruiting MNG Jet and overseeing the secret operation.
The Taylors are currently fighting extradition from the United States to Japan and the whereabouts of Zayek are unclear.
The indictment says Taylor and Zayek put Ghosn “in a large musical instrument case” and then took him through security at Japan’s Osaka airport.
They allegedly opened “70 holes at the bottom of the case for him to breathe easily.”
The indictment says the plane landed at Istanbul’s old Ataturk airport and parked near another plane bound for Beirut.
MNG Jet employee Okan Kosemen then allegedly jumped off the Osaka plane and boarded the one destined for Beirut together with Ghosn.
The indictment says Kosemen received several payments into his bank account totalling 216,800 euros and 66,990 dollars in the months before Ghosn’s flight.
He is also accused of being paid an unidentified amount after Ghosn’s arrival in Beirut.
Kosemen has denied being paid to help Ghosn escape while the pilots and flight attendants say they were unaware he was on board any of the plane’s flights.
MNG filed a complaint last year alleging its aircraft was used illegally.
It added at the time that one its employees had admitted to falsifying the flight manifest to keep Ghosn off the passenger list.