Tanzania bans three more Kenyan airlines from its airspace

Fly 540
Fly 540. [Photo courtesy]

A diplomatic row between Kenya and Tanzania has seen the later ban three more Kenyan airlines from its airspace.

Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) on Tuesday cancelled the approval granted to Fly 540, Air Kenya Express and Safarilink Aviation to fly into Tanzanian airspace.

This comes barely a month after TCAA banned Kenyan Airways from flying into Tanzania, a row that was touched off initially by Kenya’s exclusion of Tanzania among 30 countries allowed into the Kenyan airspace.

Further, Kenya insisted that Tanzanian passengers flying into Kenya must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine as is the protocol to imposed in the fight against coronavirus.

“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 the letter to Air Kenya’s operations manager.

Johari told the three airlines that they have to re-apply to be allowed into Tanzania.

“You will, therefore, be allowed to apply afresh for any operations into Tanzania before consideration can be made,” TCAA stated.

He was categorical that the nullification was a result of “an ongoing dispute between the two countries” as reported by The Citizen.

Johari added that the ban will be lifted only if “air travellers from Tanzania are accorded the same treatment as those on the list.”

Before KQ was banned from flying into Tanzania, it operated 14 weekly flights.

TCAA noted that the revocation on KQ’s rights to fly to Tanzania was on a “reciprocal basis”.

The cancellation of the three airlines which operated daily flights to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar is will inconvenience many travellers especially now that tourism has started picking up after a three-month hiatus.

However, Kenya has remained steadfast in its implementation of COVID-19 protocols insisting that passengers from high-risk countries must be quarantined for 14 days.