KQ to start direct flights from JKIA to Somaliland


A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Airways (KQ) is set to launch direct flights from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Hargeisa, Somaliland, in March following a deal inked by President Uhuru Kenyatta, a move that could harden conflict between Nairobi and Mogadishu.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the two heads of state resolved that direct flights to Somaliland will also involve other Kenyan carriers apart from KQ.

The plans come barely five months after Kenya’s low cost carrier --Jambojet put on hold plans to launch direct flights from JKIA to Somali capital Mogadishu due to high insurance needed to ply the route.

“To effect the commitment made, Kenya Airways and other Kenyan airlines to will commence direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa by end of March , 2021,” said a statement from State House, Nairobi on Tuesday.

Plans by KQ to start direct flight to Hargeisa comes at a time Somaliland president Musa Bihi’s official state visit to Kenya has angered Somalia who claims that Somaliland has no legitimacy to deal directly with Kenya.

Somalia on Tuesday morning announced it is cutting diplomatic ties with Kenya, in the latest escalation of a spat between the two, and following the invitation of Somaliland leader Muse Bihi to Nairobi.