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Kenya Airways flights suspended in Tanzania

Kenya Airways flights suspended in Tanzania

(Courtesy photo)

In a retaliatory move, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) has announced the suspension of all Kenya Airways (KQ) passenger flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, effective January 22, 2024.

This decision comes as a response to Kenya’s recent denial of Tanzania’s request for Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) to operate cargo flights between Nairobi and third countries.

Kenya Airways, a key player in the region, operates a significant 33 scheduled flights per week between the capitals of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The sudden suspension is poised to have a profound impact on the thousands of passengers who rely on this route for business, tourism, and family connections.

The root of the dispute lies in Kenya’s refusal to grant approval for ATCL’s cargo flights, deemed by Tanzania as a violation of the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Air Services between the two nations. Section 4 of the MoU, emphasizing reciprocal treatment of airlines, is at the center of the disagreement. TCAA Director General Hamza S. Johari justified the decision, citing the principle of reciprocity and Kenya’s non-compliance with the MoU.

Johari underlined Tanzania’s commitment to international aviation regulations and bilateral agreements, expressing, “The United Republic of Tanzania shall always strive to adhere to the principles of the Chicago Convention 1944 and Bilateral Air Services Agreement between States.”

This suspension marks a critical development in a long-standing dispute that has been escalating for several months. In August 2020, Tanzania briefly banned KQ flights after Kenyan authorities excluded Tanzanians from a list of countries with eased entry restrictions. Although the ban was eventually lifted, tensions persisted.

The current situation raises significant concerns about the future of air travel between Tanzania and Kenya, with potential ramifications for both nations’ tourism and business sectors. While alternative airlines continue to operate on the route, the absence of Kenya Airways flights may result in reduced options and potentially higher fares for travelers.

As the impasse continues, industry stakeholders and travelers alike await further developments, hoping for a resolution that can restore normalcy and cooperation in the vital air travel corridor between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Courtesy; Daily Monitor

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