Hiiraan Xog, Kenya Airways has once again postponed expected launch of its direct flight from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Aden Abdulle International Airport in Somali capital Mogadishu indefinitely.
Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz told Kenyan Parliament that the delay is associated with “politically motivated” and the move is hampering the carrier’s regional expansion plans.
In statement on Tuesday Mikosz said that the airline would not fly to Somalia until further notice as it is also facing a delay in getting “additional operational requirements” to fly on the long awaited route.
The national carrier which had initially planned to fly to Mogadishu beginning November was to launch its direct flights to Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu on Wednesday 5th December in a move that was expected to boost trade with the recuperating Horn of African state.
“There is delay in KQ getting the additional operational requirement and the launch has been postponed until further notice,” said Mr Mikosz.
KQ was set to fly Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 on this latest route that is set to ease expanding travel between the two major cities.
The delay comes at a time when three East African countries have refused to allow KQ to use Bombardier planes to operate scheduled flights in their capitals, causing diplomatic tension.
Bujumbura earlier declined Bombardier DHC8-Q400 aircraft on grounds that it has no business class seats.
Somalia’s neighbor Djibouti and Southern Sudan similarly declined KQ’s applications to grant operational access.
Bombardier planes on short-haul flights because they are less costly to operate.
Direct international flights to Somali capital Mogadishu has significantly increased in recent years.
Africa’s largest carrier Ethiopian airlines has joined Turkish airlines, Air Djibouti, Fly Dubai and Air Arabia in Somali airspace boosting trade relations with Middle East and Europe respectively.
According to Somali media reports there are also ongoing efforts to bring national carrier Somali airlines back into the market by early next year.