Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways

by David Musyoka and Chrispinus Omar

Kenya Airways said Friday it has reduced its frequencies to Dar es Salaam after Tanzanian authorities slapped restrictions on flights entering its airspace.

Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways said in a statement issued in Nairobi that it will now only fly twice daily to Tanzania from March 19.
“Kenya Airways wishes to notify its customers that it has reduced its frequencies to Dar es Salaam from 42 to 14 per week and will now only fly twice daily from March 19,” it said. “This is as a result of a communication from the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) reducing flight frequencies of Kenyan carriers into Tanzania.”
The Tanzanian action follows a deadlock on the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) between the two countries.
Sources said the Dar es Salaam authorities were also angered by Kenya’s decision to ban Tanzanian tour vehicles from accessing the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to pick up tourists.
According to the TCAA letter, Kenya has maintained a hardline stance on resolving issues surrounding the BASA.
“Tanzania regrets that the discussions could not come into consensus on the matter relating to principal place of business and effective regulatory control as a criterion for airline designation parallel to the majority ownership and effective control requirement,” reads the letter.
The acting TCAA director-general, Charles Chacha, reportedly said the two countries had gone for years without an aviation agreement.
He said BASA has been stuck in a stalemate between the two countries, adding that there are issues to be considered in each agreement, including the number and kind of flights, alongside identification of airport for international flights.
Kenya Airways operated five daily flights to Dar es Salaam and one to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar respectively.
“Noting that Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) are negotiated between governments, we are aware that the relevant Kenyan government agencies have reached out to their Tanzanian counterparts in a bid to resolve the issue,” Kenya Airways said.
The Kenyan carrier said transport is a critical pillar in the integration of the East African Community, noting that expeditious resolution of the pending issues pertaining to the BASA is crucial in fast-tracking regional integration.
Analysts predicted that the move is likely to have a direct and adverse impact on tourism and trade as well as spark diplomatic standoff between the two East African countries.
Early February, Kenyan denied tour vans from Tanzania access into the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, setting the stage for frosty relations between tourism stakeholders from the two countries.
Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie invoked a 1985 bilateral agreement on tourism between the two countries, which barred tour vans from cross-border operations.
Kandie said Kenya resorted to the rule to”ensure fair play and safeguard Kenyan businesses.”
Under the rule, Tanzanian tour vans will not be allowed to drop or pick visitors at the airport. Tanzanian tour operators with clients using the airport for arrival, transfer or departure will have to strike deals with the local counterparts to handle the process on their behalf.
Tanzanian tour vans cannot also take tourists to any Kenyan game parks or reserves, or other attractions, without requisite preapprovals under the 30-year rule.
Currently, Kenyan tour vans are not allowed to drop or pick tourists in Tanzania, including access to attraction sites, airports and airstrips. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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