Neighbouring country Tanzania has banned three more Kenyan airlines from flying into the country as the standoff between the two countries over management of the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
Weeks after banning Kenya Airways (KQ) flights, Kahawa Tungu understands that Tanzanian authorities have now banned AirKenya Express, Fly540 and Safarilink Aviation flight companies from the country’s airspace.
Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) Director-General Hamza Johari confirmed the development today, Wednesday August 26, 2020, to the country’s news outlet, The Citizen.
“The basis of the decision to nullify our approval for the three Kenyan airlines is the ongoing dispute between the two countries,” said Mr Johari.
AirKenya Express and F1y54o each flew to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar seven times a week.
Safarilink Aviation made most trips in the country, operating seven frequencies on each of its Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar routes per week.
Since Kenya announced resumption of international flights on August 1, Tanzania has been missing on the list of passengers allowed into the country.
Currently, passengers from at least 130 countries are allowed to enter Kenya without being subjected to mandatory quarantine.
The list released by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is based on how individual countries are managing the Covid-19 pandemic. It is updated on a daily basis.
“Some countries are allowed to enter Kenya without the same condition despite having a very high rate of Covid-19 infections,” Mr Johari added.
“What message are they sending to the world about Tanzania?”
Tanzania banned Kenya’s national carrier KQ from flying into the country after it missed on the very first list released by KCAA.
KQ had a permit to fly 14 times to Dar es Salaam every week from the capital Nairobi, three times to Kilimanjaro and two times to Zanzibar, mostly ferrying tourists and business travelers between the two destinations.
Tanzania’s head of state John Pombe Magufuli declared the country Covid-19 free in June despite criticism from other states on how his government handled the pandemic.
The Tanzanian government has not released aggregate numbers on Covid-19 cases or deaths since April 29.
The number of infections has stagnated at 509 with 21 deaths.