Kenyan khat (miraa) planes have reportedly been banned temporarily in Somalia, until Kenyan authorities allow commercial passenger flights from Somalia to land in the country.
Sources from Somalia indicate that the temporary ban was ordered by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo personally.
This now leaves Ethiopia as the biggest exporter of khat into the country, an industry that mints billions for Kenyan businesses.
Khat flights will resume when Kenya allows commercial passenger flights to and from #Somalia, according to govt sources.
I'm told @M_Farmaajo personally made the order. Not exactly a ban, but close because Kenya will act tough for some time – time without khat in our streets.
— M.Mubarak (@somalianalyst) August 8, 2020
On July 30, Kenya announced resumption of international passenger flights, announcing 11 destinations that left out its neighbours thought to be adversely affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
In a communiqué announced by Transport CS James Macharia, China, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Uganda, France, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Switzerland and Morocco who have mild and limited community transmission were allowed.
Somalia aims to use the move to arm twist Kenya to allow passenger flights from Somalia, just like it happened in Tanzania.
Last week, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hamza cancelled Kenya Airways’ (KQ) clearance to fly into the country, after they were left out in the list.
“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.
Transport CS James Macharia was forced to announce that travellers from Tanzania would be allowed into Kenyan soil with immediate effect.
“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,” said CS Macharia.
The impasse is yet to be resolved.