Tanzania has lifted its ban on Kenyan registered airlines, opening a new cooperation over the East African skies after a month-and-half-long standoff over the regional skies.
The good news reached travel and tourist players in East Africa Wednesday morning after the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) issued a mid-morning statement announcing the end of the ban imposed to Kenyan airline operators.
Kenya and Tanzania have been good partners in the development of a regional tourism network but came into a standoff after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March when the Kenyan government excluded Tanzania on its list of about 111 countries whose passengers are allowed to enter Kenya without being quarantined for 14 days.
Responding to Kenya government’s approach, Tanzania government nullified its approval for Kenya Airways (KQ) flights into Tanzanian skies with effect from August 1, 2020 pending Kenya’s response.
Several tourist companies comprised of tourist hotels and safari lodge operators, ground-handling firms, travel agents, and other suppliers have raised their voices calling for the 2 governments to settle the dispute in an effort to save regional tourism from further deterioration after the pandemic.
From Monday of next week, Kenya Airways (KQ), the national carrier of Kenya, and 3 other small-sized airlines from Nairobi will enter the Tanzanian skies.
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) on Wednesday, September 16, announced it had lifted the suspension on Kenyan airlines operators.
In a statement, the TCAA Director General Hamza Johari said the authority was acting on a reciprocal basis after the KCAA included Tanzania on a revised list of countries exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
“In view of that and on a reciprocal basis, Tanzania has now lifted the suspension for all Kenyan operators namely, Kenya Airways, Fly 540 Limited, Safarilink Aviation, and AirKenya Express Limited,” TCAA Director General Hamza Johari said.
Mr. Johari added that the resumption and restoration of flights for all Kenyan operators is with immediate effect and THE Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has been informed accordingly.
“The United Republic of Tanzania shall always strive to adhere to the fundamental principles of the Chicago Convention 1944 and Bilateral Air Services Agreement between 2 states,” he noted.
Before the ban, Kenyan Airways had been operating twice daily flights between Tanzania’s big airports in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar, connecting regional and international travelers with its hub in Nairobi.
AirKenya Express, Fly540, and Safarilink Aviation operated daily flights to and from Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar as well.
Since the return of international flights on August 1, Kenya Airways, alongside 3 other Kenyan air operators which are AirKenya Express, Fly540, and Safarilink Aviation, are set to take to the open skies once again.
Standing as the leading airline in East and Central Africa, Kenya Airways is among the main airlines connecting the African continent. Its key routes in Africa covers West African states, North Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, and Indian Ocean islands.