Africa

Kenya Suspends Somalia Flights for Three Months

Kenya on Monday suspended flights from Somalia in the latest show that relations between the two sides have not thawed as announced last week.

A Notice to Airmen (Notam) on Monday indicated that flights departing for or arriving from Somalia will not be allowed for three months from May 11 to August 9 this year. Only humanitarian deliveries and medical evacuation flights will be allowed into the country, according to a notice by the aviation regulator, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

The Authority did not elaborate on reasons but suggested there had been a security directive from the government to restrict air traffic between the two countries. The decision means all chartered and scheduled flights to Somalia will not be allowed.

However, flights from Somalia passing through the Kenyan airspace to another destination will be exempted. The announcement was made just as Somalia’s President Mohamed Farmaajo was flying over Kenya to Uganda for the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni for the fifth term.

Also exempted are military flights which are not within the jurisdiction of the KCAA.

The move, however, dents any latest efforts to revive relations between the two countries.

Last week, Qatari special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani helped broker resumption of relations and Mogadishu announced it was reopening its diplomatic channels with Nairobi that it had shut down in December 2020, protesting against Kenya’s alleged interference in Somalia’s internal matters.