It is era of flight resumptions, wherein aviation businesses are carefully getting back in the air on one side of the attempt to revive operations. Amidst this, the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania are having a back-and-forth with each other as regards being able to access each other’s airspaces.
Excluding Each Other
Tanzania has banned Kenya Airways from flying into the country, a decision that was just arrived at and comes with the “until further notice” clause.
This move, more or less, comes at a time when the aviation industry is both trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic and tackling it meticulously with measures.
In a statement from the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the appeal granted to KQ to resume international flights to Tanzania has been revoked, “on a reciprocal basis”.
“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 statement by TCAA director general Hamza. S. Johari said.
Speaking of reciprocity, Kenya—whether on purpose or not—excluded Tanzania from the list of nationals exempted from quarantine when they enter the country. Excluding flights from Tanzania did not come without a clear reason, but as it appears, the ban on KQ is a retaliation or sorts.
Kenya Airways might be the one mostly on the losing side, given that the current situation of its business. If things escalate, however, the African operations of both airlines could be threatened. A vivid example can be drawn from the 2017 performance highlights of KQ.
The Shrewd Backstory
The World Health Organization has advised countries resuming flights to take safety measures. But Kenya’s decision to exclude Tanzania sends mixed signals, given that the country has one of the lowest coronavirus cases in East Africa.
Earlier in the week, the Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, said the country would allow flights from Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Qatar, Italy, France, Morocco, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and most parts of the United States.
The passengers are required to arrive Kenya with Covid-19 negative certificates and body temperatures not more than 37.5 degrees. That said, Tanzania’s government declared the country coronavirus-free, having not recorded a single additional case of the infection since April when it had just 509 cases.
Kenya and Tanzania just reopened their airspaces to international flights. KQ has mostly been in turbulent times in the recent past, having been forced to reduce its fleet, streamline operations, and cuts costs. To survive the pandemic, the loss-making airline had to switch to cargo and furlough a good number of its employees.
Featured Image: Guim.