To let them fly or not … decisions await the new KCAA board


(Posted 12th June 2015)

Aviation and tourism pundits continue to speculate when the long overdue bilateral meeting between the Tanzanian and Kenya tourism and aviation delegations will eventually take place. After some serious tit for tat reactions earlier in the year, when first Tanzanian tourists vehicles were banned from accessing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and then the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority finally acted on the continued rejection of one of their designated airlines landing rights in Nairobi by curbing frequencies of Kenyan airlines did it take a direct intervention by the two Head of State to defuse the situation.

At the time it was stipulated that the two foreign ministers lead the respective delegations, involving tourism and transport ministers, bureaucrats and private sector at the end of April but the meeting was inexplicably delayed.

Meanwhile does Fastjet still not have landing rights in Nairobi for flights from Dar es Salaam which turns the principle of reciprocity on the head as only one Tanzanian airline, Precision Air, presently serves the route while at least two Kenyan airlines operate flights to Dar es Salaam.

A regular contact in Dar es Salaam has now reported of growing frustration again in the ranks of the TCAA and that, in his words ‘they are itching to slam the breaks again on the flights by Kenyan airlines if Fastjet is not given their license on the double now’.

Meanwhile was it learned that the Fastjet application in Kenya to the KCAA for an air service license, the legal prerequisite to start an airline business, will probably feature on the first meeting of the recently appointed board of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, after the previous board’s term of office had lapsed, making it legally impossible to take decisions, even though KCAA bureaucrats could have granted a temporary ASL subject to confirmation at the following licensing hearing.

The two cases, while not directly connected, as Fastjet Tanzania is an entirely different legal entity from what is to become Fastjet Kenya, are nevertheless viewed as a litmus test for the bilateral relations between Tanzania and Kenya in regard of aviation cooperation and partnership under the auspices of the East African Community. All eyes will be on the next licensing meeting of the KCAA where the deferred case will no doubt appear on the agenda and at least in the case of the landing rights for Fastjet Tanzania, should they again be refused, can a major reaction be expected once more from the Tanzanian aviation regulators. To stay up to date, be sure you watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from the Eastern African region.

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