Tanzania lifts ban on Kenya’s flights in its airspace
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) has lifted the ban on Kenyan air traffic operators, ending two-month-long air traffic spat between the two countries.
It is a turnaround move by Tanzania after the country banned Kenya Airways (KQ), Fly 540 Limited, Safari Link Aviation and AirKenya Express Limited from entering her air space.
“This is to confirm that the Government of the Republic of Kenya through a circular issued by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) on September 15 removed the requirement of 14 days mandatory quarantine for all arriving passengers from the United Republic of Tanzania,” noted TCAA.
This is after Kenya included Tanzania on its Safe-flights-list without her citizens necessarily being subjected to a 14-day quarantine rule.
“The resumption and restoration of flights for all Kenyan operators is with immediate effect and the KCAA has been informed accordingly.”
On August 27, TCAA revoked the approvals from AirKenya Express, Fly540 and Safrailink Aviation.
The two East African countries have been locked in a disagreement of the handling of passengers arriving from Dar es Salaam after Kenya excluded Tanzania from the list of countries whose citizens would be allowed into the country under revised COVID-19 measures.
Kenya and Tanzania have been urged to consider an East African Community (EAC) coordinated approach after the two countries clashed over the ‘safe flights’ list.
The East African Business Council (EABC) said the two nations should prioritize decisions that promote intra-EAC trade and revive the tourism and hospitality sector heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The East African Business Council congratulates Kenya and Rwanda as they resume international flights today, 1st August 2020. Tanzania resumed international flights on the 18th of May 2020. These are important steps towards the recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, however, the differences emerging in regional air transport services among some partner states are set to adversely affect the rebound of business in the region,” Dr. Peter Mathuki, the EABC Executive Director /Chief Executive Officer said.
According to him, intra EAC trade stood at $5.98 billion (Ksh. 644billion) two years ago but with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, regional trade is expected to decline by 50 percent this year.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicated that EAC partner states will potentially lose upwards of $5.4 billion (Ksh. 581.6billion) of tourist local spending for the year 2020 under scenarios of protracted closures and restrictions of seaports and airports.
“The impact of COVID-19 has led to a decline in the number of air passengers hence approximately $0.54 billion (Ksh.58billion) revenue loss was projected in Kenya risking 137,965 jobs while $20.4 million (Ksh.2.2billion) base revenues loss, risking 3,000 jobs was projected in Rwanda,” he added.
The air traffic resolution between the two is likely to see a significant boost in the tourism sector even as report shows that tourist arrival into Kenya in August fell 91 percent.
In August alone, Kenya received 14,049 tourists, first month after resumption of both international and domestic flights compared to 159,804 international arrivals in similar period last year.