Tanzania bans Kenya Airways from flying into country as bickering worsens

Tanzania bans Kenya Airways from flying into country as bickering worsens

Tanzania has slammed a ban on Kenya Airways from flying into the country as bickering between the two East African countries worsened. The exclusion c

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Tanzania has slammed a ban on Kenya Airways from flying into the country as bickering between the two East African countries worsened. The exclusion comes after Nairobi announced passengers from Tanzania would not be allowed to enter Kenya.

The Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), which declared that Kenya Airways flights were being banned “on a reciprocal basis,” maintained that this came after the Kenyan government decided against including Tanzania in a list of countries whose passengers would be allowed to enter Kenya when commercial flights resumed on Saturday following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

“Tanzania has noted … its exclusion in the list of countries whose people will be allowed to travel into Kenya,” TCCA Director General Hamza Johari said in a letter sent to Kenya Airways on Friday. The Tanzanian government has decided to nullify its approval for Kenya Airways (KQ) flights between Nairobi and Dar/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar effective August 1, 2020 until further notice. This letter also rescinds all previous arrangements that permit KQ flights into the United Republic of Tanzania.”

Kenya Airways chief executive Allan Kilavuka said on Saturday he was “saddened” by the letter and hoped the situation would soon be resolved.

The spat between Kenya and Tanzania erupted soon after the outbreak of the pandemic in East Africa, when Kenya blocked Tanzanian truck drivers from entering the country, fearing they would spread the disease. Tanzania has taken a controversially relaxed approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic and began reopening the country two months ago.

President John Magufuli’s refusal to impose lockdowns or physical distancing measures, and to halt the release of figures on infections since late April, has made him a regional outlier and caused concern among Tanzania’s neighbours and the World Health Organization. Magufuli declared Tanzania free of coronavirus in June, thanking God and the prayers of citizens for what he said was the defeat of COVID-19.