Tanzania authorities have banned three more Kenyan airlines from flying into its airspace.
This is in response to the Kenya government’s decision to exclude Tanzania from the list of countries from which travelers are exempted from mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Kenya.
The move comes barely three weeks after Tanzania imposed a similar restriction on the national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ) over Kenya’s insistence that passengers from Tanzania must undertake mandatory quarantine on arrival in the country.
Kenya, which reopened its airspace for international flights on August 1st, has cleared a total of 131 countries but Tanzania is missing on the list.
On Tuesday, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) revoked the permits granted to three Kenyan airliners namely; Fly 540, Air Kenya Express, and Safarilink Aviation.
The decision was communicated to the three privately-owned aviation companies through a letter signed by TCAA director-general Hamza Johari.
“Reference is made to the approval for your summer schedule application extended to Air Kenya Express. The approval was granted to Air Kenya for schedule flight operations between Nairobi and Kilimanjaro with effect from March 27 to October 25. However, we regret to inform you that this approval is hereby nullified,” TCAA director-general Hamza Johari said in the letter to Air Kenya’s operations manager.
Before the cancellation of their approvals, the three airlines were operating daily flights to and from Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.
TCAA did not give any reasons as to why it was nullifying the approvals, only informing the privately-owned Kenyan airlines that this notice now rescinds any previous approval allowing it to fly to Tanzania.
“You will therefore be allowed to apply afresh for any operations into Tanzania before consideration can be made,” Mr Johari added.
President Pombe Magufuli’s administration declared Tanzania coronavirus-free and is yet to release any Covid-19 data since April when the country had recorded 509 cases.
Kenya said only countries with mild or limited community transmission or declining incidences of Covid-19 infections were cleared.
Last week, Nairobi expanded the list whose nationals are allowed entry without the mandatory 14-day quarantine to 100 countries, but Tanzania is still missing from it.
On Tuesday, Kenya reiterated its stand that all high-risk tourists visiting the country, including Tanzanians, will have to undergo 14-day quarantine.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments are working towards a modality that will see its national carriers, Kenya Airways and Precision Air resume operations between the two countries.
“We are working on it, we will have Precision Air and KQ travel between the two countries very soon,” Mr Balala said.