DESTINATION TRAFFIC RIGHTS DETERMINE FLIGHTS, NOT LOCAL ROUTE APPROVALS
(Posted 04th December 2018)
Reports from Nairobi suggest that following the latest meeting of the licensing committee for air services, local airlines Jet Airways and Silverstone had received approval from the Kenyan authorities to open routes to such destinations like Mwanza, Juba, Mogadishu, Kigali and Entebbe, among others.
Given the recent rejections though of landing right applications by Jambojet to Burundi, South Sudan and Djibouti is it by no means certain that additional airlines registered in Kenya will be granted flight permits to those airports.
Guiding policy documents are normally bilateral air services agreements, in short known as BASA’s, and the reciprocity often included in those documents.
Silverstone’s new route approvals for Mwanza are the most likely to be granted by counterpart aviation bureaucrats in Tanzania, given that there are presently no nonstop flights between Nairobi and Mwanza – Tanzania’s second largest city – and that flights in the past were operated but then halted when the respective airlines either collapsed or withdrew from the route.
Flights to Juba, Kigali and Mogadishu however will truly depend on the goodwill of counterpart aviation regulators, who may well keep applications on the bottom of their in trays, if the recent decision to deny Jambojet landing rights is anything to go by.
Aviation observers have linked such decisions to the lack of implementation of regional and continental aviation accords like the Yamoussoukro Agreement and the African Union’s aviation initiative, largely due to lack of political will and to protect national airlines.
It was also learned that an application by Ethiopian Airlines to operate a flight from South Africa via Nairobi to Europe was turned down by Kenyan authorities, which remain under the spotlight as to why they have yet to grant Africa’s most successful airline landing rights into Malindi, where the tourism industry would see a massive boost from such flights.