RwandAir has introduced three weekly flights to Dar es Salaam in a bid to capitalize on the void left by Kenyan carriers who have been denied entry into the John Magufuli-led nation.
Tanzania barred Kenya Airways (KQ), AirKenya Express, Fly540, and Safarilink Aviation from plying the Dar, Zanzibar, and Kilimanjaro routes after Nairobi omitted it from a list of safe countries whose citizens will not be required to undergo a mandatory 2-week quarantine upon entering Kenya.
The move has been welcomed by travelers plying the route who had to contend with flying to either Addis Ababa or the Middle East to connect flights and gain entry into Tanzania.
“Dar es Salaam? Kilimanjaro? Nairobi? No problem, we will get you there,” RwandAir said on its website.
The news comes just days after Tanzanian-based Precision Air dropped flights to Nairobi despite recently resuming operations following the Covid-19 hiatus. The airline could have exploited the demand on the route as it was poised to recommence flights from Dar es Salaam via Zanzibar to Nairobi and back yesterday. Zanzibar’s position as a popular tourist attraction has made the route one of the busiest in the East African region.
KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka recently underscored the importance of the Dar es Salaam route to the airline, citing that it increases the carrier’s business as most travelers from Tanzania enter Nairobi to connect flights to various global destinations.
“We hope that this issue will be resolved fast,” Mr. Kilavuka said in a statement.
Prior to the implementation of the flight restrictions by the Tanzanian government, KQ had the green light to conduct 14 weekly flights to Dar es Salaam, three weekly flights to Kilimanjaro, and two to Zanzibar.
Tanzanian carriers have been denied entry into Kenya owing to the fact that President John Magufuli’s regime was lax in implementing measures to curb the spreading of Covid-19 in the country. Covid-19 pre-cautions such as social distancing, wearing face masks, limiting public travel and social gatherings have not been properly implemented in Tanzania raising the possibility of new infections when Tanzanian nationals visit other countries.
Kenya’s decision to put Tanzanian travelers entering the country into a mandatory two-week quarantine will likely escalate trade wars between the two East African nations.
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