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Tanzania Bans Kenya Airways From Its Airspace In a Retaliatory Move

The decision follows Kenyan authorities’ move to refuse the Tanzanian request for an all-cargo flight by Air Tanzania under Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights between Nairobi and third countries.

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Dar es Salaam. Relations between Tanzania and Kenya worsened on Monday after the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) banned Kenya Airways (KQ), the country’s flag carrier airline, from Tanzania’s airspace in retaliation to what Kenyan authorities did to Air Tanzania.

TCAA director-general Hamza Johari said in a statement that the move reciprocated the decision by Kenya’s aeronautical authorities to refuse the Tanzanian request for an all-cargo flight by Air Tanzania under Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights between Nairobi and third countries.

Mr Johari said Kenya’s decision violated section four of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on air services between the two East African neighbours, which was signed on November 24, 2016, in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi.

“Following this decision, there shall be no passenger flights by KQ between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam from January 22, 2024,” Mr Johari announced in a statement circulated on social media.

He added that Tanzania “shall always strive to adhere to principles of Chicago Convention” of 1944, which established the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations charged with coordinating international air travel.

READ MORE: ‘We Shouldn’t Share Our Poverty’: Will Ruto’s Visit Improve TZ-Kenya Relations?

Mr Johari also said Tanzania will adhere to Bilateral Air Services Agreements between states. Kenya’s authorities were yet to respond to Tanzania’s decision as of writing.

Relations between Kenya and Tanzania have always been dominated by tension and mistrust between the two biggest economies of East Africa, a challenge leaders of both countries have more than once committed themselves to addressing.

On numerous occasions, authorities from the two countries have retaliated against the actions of the other, hurting not only businesses operating in the two nations but also their respective citizens and overall relations between the two.

With regard to aviation, this is not the first time that Tanzania banned Kenya Airways and other Kenya’s airlines from its airspace in retaliation. 

In August 2020, for instance, TCAA took the decision after Kenya excluded Tanzania in a list of countries whose passengers would be allowed to enter Kenya when commercial flights resumed following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. 

Tanzania lifted the ban three months later, in October 2020, after the two countries settled their disagreements.

Foreign Affairs Ministers from the two countries have resolved for the issue to be sorted in three days time, in an A post, Tanzania Minister of Foreign Affairs, January Makamba, said that they have agreed,”restrictions of air travel between our countries and from any of our country to a third country shouldn’t stand.”

On the other hand the Kenyan counter part Musalia Mudavadi, emphasized they have jointly agreed that for Civil Aviation Authorities to work together to have the issue resolved.

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