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Flights row: Tanzania bans three more Kenyan airlines

By Betty Njeru | August 27th 2020

Tanzania has banned three more Kenyan airlines from its airspace, amid a growing indifference between the two countries over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) nullified the approval granted to Fly 540 (pictured), Air Kenya Express and Safarilink Aviation.

“Reference is made to the approval for your summer schedule application extended to Air Kenya Express. The approval was granted to Air Kenya for schedule flight operations between Nairobi and Kilimanjaro with effect from March 27 to October 25. However, we regret to inform you that this approval is hereby nullified,” TCAA Director-General Hamza Johari said in a letter to Air Kenya’s operations manager.

The three airlines operate daily flights to and from Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

In an interview with Tanzania’s publication The Citizen, Johari said that the decision was based on the “ongoing dispute between the two countries”.

He further pointed out that the ban would not be lifted unless travellers from Tanzania are accorded the same treatment as those on the list of who is allowed into the Kenyan airspace.

“Some countries are allowed to enter Kenya without the same conditions despite having very high rates of Covid-19 infections,” he said.

Early August, TCAA had said it would not allow any Kenya Airways (KQ) flights between Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar effective August 1.

In the statement, it added: “This also rescinds our previous arrangements that permit KQ flights into the Republic of Tanzania.”

But responding to claims, of a diplomatic row, Transport CS James Macharia denied that there was one, possibly hurting movement between the two countries.

He said, "We have not banned anyone."

He said Kenya only assessed the risk to allow travellers from certain countries with the Covid-19 certificate.

Kenya has since increased the list of countries allowed entry without the mandatory 14-day quarantine to 100. Tanzania is still missing.

Kenya resumed international flights on August 1, 2020.

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