Kenya mum on Dubai flights ban as locals protest


An Emirates Airlines plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya has remained silent over the move by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to extend a ban on flights to Dubai even as stakeholders in the aviation sector protest the government’s decision to allow Emirates Airlines to fly passengers to Nairobi.

UAE has banned Kenyans from travelling to Dubai indefinitely but its national carrier is bringing in passengers from Dubai and flies cargo on its way back using the same passenger jets.

The ban will have a negative impact on the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020 as most officials who were to travel for the exhibition this January are likely to be locked out by the directive.

For instance, Kenya is expected to stage a horticulture week early this year to showcase some of its best produce to the world.

Officials who spoke to the Business Daily want Kenya to retaliate and ban Emirates from flying to Nairobi as well.

“We cannot have traffic flowing from one side. If Emirates is bringing passengers to Nairobi, Kenya Airways should as well take passengers to Dubai, if not so, then we should as well ban the UAE flag carrier from flying to Nairobi,” said an official who sought anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia and his PS did not respond to Business Daily inquiries on the matter.

Emirates is operating at least one or two daily flights on the Nairobi route everyday having scaled down from nearly three.

The move is the latest restriction on global travel by UAE aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19 in the wake of new Omicron variant.

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