BURUNDI AT RISK TO HAVE FLIGHTS FROM NAIROBI CUT OVER ‘COMFORT‘ OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
(Posted 11th November 2018)
After suddenly challenging Kenya Airways’ subsidiary Jambojet landing rights using a Bombardier Q400 aircraft, which under the existing bilateral air services agreement and under relevant agreements within the East African community plainly is a rubberstamp issue, has Kenya Airways now hit back hard, halting the issue of tickets to and from Burundi. This development comes after Burundi had in mid September approved the Jambojet flights with the aircraft in question.
The denial, according to the letter from Kenya Airways, centres around the aircraft type Jambojet uses, the Bombardier Q400, which Burundian authorities suddenly seem to have an issue with. It is understood that the Burundian government is ‘concerned‘ about the loss of comfort if officials have to travel in an all economy class aircraft, not a separate business class section, and being mixed with the hoi polloi.
In contrast does Air Tanzania notably operate their all economy class Q400 between Dar es Salaam and Bujumbura, fueling a ministorm on aviation related media in particular in Kenya about a conspiracy why Burundi complains to Kenya but seemingly accepts the same aircraft type from Tanzania.
Burundian officials have after all not voiced such concerns with Air Tanzania and the Tanzanian government as is now becoming a thorny issue with Kenya nor in the past voiced such complaints when for instance defunct Air Uganda operated an all economy version of the CRJ200 between Entebbe and Bujumbura.
In a series of past controversial decisions has Burundi, within the East African context, danced to the tunes of Tanzania, such examples including the deliberate absence from the common East African Tourist Visa, further fueling speculation as to the real reasons behind the demand for ‘comfort‘..
The spat further isolates Burundi in the East African Community and underscores the arrogance of their dictatorial government, demanding premium travel when the economic situation of most Burundians is dire at best.
Watch this space for further updates as and when additional information becomes available.