Kenya allows Tanzanian airlines amid row


Precision Air aircraft. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya will not cancel the traffic rights for Tanzanian-based Precision Air that will resume flights to Nairobi Thursday amid a standoff that has seen Dar es Salaam stop three Kenyan airlines from flying there.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director-general Gilbert Kibe said Precision Air has an existing traffic rights that will not be nullified on the account of the stalemate between Kenya and Tanzania.

Kenya Airways, whose traffic rights to Tanzania were still valid at the beginning of this month when the carrier resumed international flights, were revoked by the Tanzanian authorities on retaliatory grounds after Nairobi excluded Dar from the list of safe countries.

“Precision Air has an existing traffic rights and to the best of my knowledge it will not be cancelled,” said Mr Kibe in an interview with the Business Daily.

Mr Kibe said he is still engaging with his counterpart in Tanzania to resolve the current blockade imposed by Tanzania.

Tanzania has banned three more Kenyan airlines from its market as a tit-for-tat trade war between the two countries escalated over the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest blockade came after Nairobi, for the second time in a row, retained Tanzania on the red list of nations with high risk in coronavirus cases—a position that means travellers from the neighbouring country will continue facing a mandatory two-week quarantine to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Travellers from 130 nations are, however, now free to enter Kenya unrestricted following a second review in which the government added about 90 countries to its quarantine-free list.

The decision angered Tanzanian authorities who last week retaliated by blocking AirKenya Express, Fly540 and Safarilink Aviation from flying to the destinations in the country.

Kenya Airways chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the Tanzanian route remains key to the carrier because of the traffic that they bring in the country for onward connection using the airline.

“We hope that this issue will be resolved fast,” said Mr Kilavuka.