Kenya rejects Oman Air plan to bring stranded Kenyans home


Oman Air at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya has rejected Oman Air bid to repatriate Kenyans stranded in India on grounds that the Middle Eastern carrier is engaging in a government function.

Oman Air has asked the Kenya embassy in India to lobby the New Delhi government to allow it to ferry home Kenyans stranded in the Asian country—which has blocked international air travel.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to India Willy Bett in a letter addressed to Oman Air Monday said it cannot seek clearance for foreign airlines, arguing that it can only act for Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ.

“That the Kenyan High Commission is not in a position to seek clearance for a non-Kenyan airline. The airline agents should stop engaging Kenyan in India with matters of repatriation as this is a government function,” said Mr Bett in the letter.

“You may wish to ask for assistance from Oman Embassy in in Nairobi and New Delhi.”

Oman Air suspended operations on the Nairobi route on March 29 and is yet to resume after Kenya lifted the ban on international flights from August 1.

The carrier started flights between Nairobi and Muscat in March 2017, targeting travellers to and from the Middle East.

Kenya rejection of Oman repatriation flights comes two months after India Air flew to Nairobi more than 300 Kenyans from India.

Thousands of Kenyans travel to India for medical treatment.

India early this month extended the suspension of all international passenger flights until September 1.

However, the restriction does not apply to international cargo operations and flights specifically approved by India’s Civil Aviation Authority.