The national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) is yet to resume flights to Tanzania, a week after Transport CS James Macharia indicated that the two countries were in talks.
“On Tanzania we have not yet resumed, we are waiting for government of Kenya to confirm,” KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka told the Business Daily.
Last Friday, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hamza, said KQ’s clearance stood revoked.
“The Authority regrets to inform you that, on a reciprocal basis, the Tanzanian Government has decided to nullify its approval for Kenya Airways flights between Nairobi and Dar/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar effective August 1, 2020 until further notice,” the letter read in part.
This was after Kenya released a list of 11 countries allowed into its airspace. Tanzania was missing from the list.
On Saturday, CS Macharia refuted claims that travellers from the John Magufuli-led country would not be allowed into Kenya.
He maintained that the flights issue would be resolved within the day.
“Travelers from Tanzania can come in as early as today. We never stopped those flights. This very minor issue has been sorted out and we believe that if not today, by tomorrow we shall find Kenya Airways flying again to Tanzania,” he said.
Kenya has been at loggerheads with Tanzania over the manner in which the latter has been handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Magufuli declared the country Coronavirus free in June and thanked faithfuls for their prayers that helped eradicate the disease.
In May, President Uhuru Kenyatta closed Kenya’s border with Tanzania in order to curb the spread of the disease that has thus far killed 399 people, countrywide.
“There will be a cessation of movement of persons and any passenger-ferrying automobiles and vehicles into and out of the territory of Kenya through the Kenya-Tanzania international border,” Kenyatta said as he exempted cargo trucks.
In retaliation, Tanga regional commissioner Martin Shigella banned Kenyan cargo trucks from entering Tanzania.
“Some people have names symbolizing independence but they have locked their countries. Our President Magufuli has allowed us independence. As a regional commissioner, I ban all trucks originating from Kenya immediately,” said Mr Shigela.