AIR TRAFFIC BETWEEN UK AND KENYA SUSPENDED AS BRITAIN PUTS KENYA ON NOTORIOUS CORONA RED LIST
(Posted 08th April 2021)
Kenya Airways, in a statement issued, has announced the suspension of their flights from Nairobi to London Heathrow. This follows the decision of the UK government to put Kenya on the Corona Red List of countries where the virus spread is hard to control or out of control.
Kenya however does not have that problem, unlike several European countries to where the UK continues to maintain airlinks and tourism sources in Kenya have denounced the move as potentially politically motivated.
To cater for last minute travel demand has the airline added a second flight between Kenya and the UK for later today, to make sure that Kenyans can get home safely while Brits in Kenya can fly back home, before the air traffic suspension comes into effect tomorrow.
The airline has also given a generous rebooking option though tickets must be used by 31st of March 2022.
Said Kenya Airways in their statement:
While the Kenyan government has put a lockdown into place for the counties of Nairobi, Nakuru and Machakos, among others, can the Kenya coast receive flights from abroad while domestic flights from Nairobi are however not possible. Nairobeans wanting to visit the Kenya coast would have to fly for instance to Addis Ababa or Entebbe and catch a connecting nonstop flight to Mombasa, a route served daily by Ethiopian Airlines and several times a week by Uganda Airlines.
As a result of the movement restrictions is it possible for Ugandan for instance, but also for international travelers, to visit the resorts along the Kenya coast from Lamu over Malindi, Kilifi and Mombasa to Diani and beyond, while Kenyans in contrast are unable to leave the capital to spend time at the coast.
This deprived coast resorts of the much needed Easter weekend business, a loss hard to bear due to the very short notice, after the hotels had stocked up and in several cases recalled staff.
In comparison has the UK suffered 126.927 deaths since the outbreak of the disease a year ago while Kenya counted only 2.276 casualties. Case numbers in the UK presently stand at 4.367.291 – with 307.587 active cases while Kenya’s count, again in comparison, stands at 141.365 with only 41.895 active cases. This indeed raises the question on the true motive of the UK, which in the past has every so often rocked bilateral relations with negative anti travel advisories and other measures, all thought to be aimed to bully Kenya into compliance with one demand or another.
Meanwhile have plans to nationalise Kenya Airways suffered another setback in parliament after the committee tasked with looking at legislation deferred a decision following widespread opposition to have the president and other government officials crowd a planned council overseeing the aviation sector in Kenya. The airline, in deep financial trouble, has received several bailouts already but the suspension of the London route will only add to KQ’s woes.
Two weeks ago did the airline report a massive loss of some 35.5 billion Kenya Shillings, more than 330 million US Dollars. Subsequently did the KQ management and board request another bailout to the tune of a further 10 billion Kenya Shillings, which corresponds to over 90 million US Dollars.
Previously has the Kenyan government already extended loans worth over 250 million US Dollars but with sinking tax income as a result of the pandemic is it not certain for how long financial support can be extended.
The IMF only days ago cited the aviation sector including the Kenya Airport Authority as a key target before additional monetary support can be extended to Kenya.