Kenya and Tanzania have jointly announced their commitment to resolving a recent dispute that led to Tanzania suspending all flights from Nairobi to its capital, Dar es Salaam.
The suspension of all Kenya Airways (KQ) flights, effective January 22, was declared by Tanzania in response to a reciprocity disagreement. This arose after Kenya rejected a request for all-cargo flight operations by Air Tanzania, labeling Kenya’s refusal as a violation of Section 4 of the Memorandum of Understanding on Air Services between the two countries, signed in Nairobi on November 24, 2016.
At the heart of the dispute lies Kenya’s refusal to grant Air Tanzania, the flag carrier of Tanzania, permission to operate all cargo flights between Nairobi and other international destinations.
Kenya Airways, a dominant player in the regional aviation scene, also flies several routes to and from Tanzania, making it a lifeline for passengers, trade, and tourism.
The sudden grounding of its operations will have ripple effects beyond just cancelled flights. Businesses that rely on air cargo between the two countries could also face delays and disruptions, potentially impacting supply chains and local economies.
Tanzania’s decision, announced in a strongly worded statement, painted Kenya’s refusal as an unfair advantage for Kenyan airlines and also a breach of the bilateral agreement.
Kenya and Tanzania commit to swift resolution
However, in an evening update through social media, Kenya’s Prime Cabinet Secretary (CS) and CS for Foreign Affairs, Musalia Mudavadi, and Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, January Makamba, both confirmed communication on the matter and expressed their commitment to a swift resolution.
“I have this evening spoken to H.E. @JMakamba (MP), Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, with regard to the decision of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority to rescind the approvals for Kenya Airways to operate passenger flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam with effect from 22nd January 2024,” Mudavadi wrote on X.
”We have jointly agreed that our respective Civil Aviation Authorities will work together to have the matter resolved amicably within the next three days. There should, therefore, be no cause for alarm.”
Makamba, on his part, stated: “I spoke to my Kenyan colleague @MusaliaMudavadi. We agree that restrictions of air travel between our countries and from any of our country to a third country shouldn’t stand. With relevant authorities, we’ve resolved to settle this issue, per existing agreements, within 3 days.”