Tanzania has blocked Kenya Airways passenger flights from operating the Nairobi-Dar es Salaam route as retaliation to Nairobi refusing all cargo flights operations by Air Tanzania Company Limited.
In a undated statement signed by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hamza Johari, Dar es Salaam said there shall be no passenger flights by Kenya airways from Nairobi from January 22, 2024.
“Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority on behalf of the aeronautical authorities of the United Republic of Tanzania has decided to rescind the approvals for Kenya Airways (KQ) to operate passenger flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam under Third and Forth Freedom Traffic Rights with effect from 22 January 2024,” the statement read in part.
Dar es Salaam added that the move is to reciprocate the decision by Kenya refuse the Tanzanian request for all-cargo flight operations by Air Tanzania Company Limited under Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights between Nairobi and Third countries, contrary to Section 4 of the MoU on Air Services, between Tanzania and Kenya signed on November 24, 2016 in Nairobi.
Kenya Airways in a position statement on Monday said it was aware of the public notice issued by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority on15th January 2024,
“Kenya Airways is engaging the Civil Aviation Authorities and relevant government agencies in Kenya and Tanzania to find a solution that will ensure there are no flight disruptions between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam,” it said.
The rift between Kenya and Tanzania adds to the growing cases of infighting within the East African Community.
On Thursday last week, Burundi Internal Affairs minister announced Gitega was suspending diplomatic ties with Kigali, closing its border and deporting Rwandan citizens in response to Rwanda’s alleged support for RED Rabara rebel group.
“[President] Paul Kagame is a bad neighbor. We have suspended all relations with him until he comes to his senses. He is harboring criminals who are destabilizing Burundi,” Minister Martin Niteretse said in meeting with security officials in Kayanza near the Rwandan border.
“All the borders are closed. We don’t need Rwandans here, and even those who were on our territory, we chased them out,” Niteretse said.
Reacting to the move, Kigali said it regretted Burundi’s “unfortunate” decision.
“The Government of Rwanda has learned through media reports of the unilateral decision by the Government of Burundi to again close its borders with Rwanda. This unfortunate decision will restrict the free movement of people and goods between the two countries, and violates the principles of regional cooperation and integration of the East African Community,” it said in a statement.
In December, Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye accused Rwanda of “harbouring, maintaining and training RED Tabara rebels to kill elderly people, pregnant women and children”.
Rwanda is already having cold relations with DR Congo over claims of backing M23 rebel groups, who have been causing mayhem in eastern region.
DRC has also severed ties with Kenya and tanzania, recalling its ambassadors from Nairobi and Dar es Salaam following the launch of a new Congolese military-political alliance in Nairobi.
Mid-December. Congolese politicians and rebel groups, including the M23 rebels, launched the Congo River Alliance at Serena Hotel in Nairobi, a move Kinshasa protested.
This story was updated to include KQ’s statement.