Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways PLC (KQ) has announced that it will be suspending all passenger flights between Kenya and the United Kingdom (UK) effective 9th April 2021 until further notice.
Through a statement, Kenya Airways (KQ)said the suspension was due to the directive issued by the Government of Kenya suspending all flights from the UK effective 9th April 2021, coming as a counter measure against the United Kingdom’s earlier stand on Kenyan citizens visiting or transiting the United Kingdom.
The Government of Kenya on Friday through a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed regret and disappointment over a decision by the Government of the United Kingdom to “Red List” Kenya and to stop all travel from Kenya for those residents in Kenya, and those transiting through Kenya, to Britain.
Kenya Airways also noted that it will however added two new flights on 7th and 8th April due to the increased demand for travel to the UK before the advisory takes effect.
Kenya Airways (KQ) further urged customers impacted by the directive to change their bookings for later travel or request a refund with all penalties waived.
“All tickets issued by Kenya Airways must be utilized before 31st March 2022,” the airline said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the move would have deep and far-reaching consequences especially on trade, travel, tourism and security cooperation between the two sides.
Clearly displeased by the decision, Nairobi described the move as ‘disturbing’ and ‘unilateral’ and insisted that it does not reflect prevailing logic and scientific knowledge of the disease (covid-19) or its spread.
In fact, the Ministry of Foreign affairs was categorical that the decision was motivated by what it termed as a ‘discriminatory policy’ against certain countries and peoples.
“Kenya has been consistent in maintaining a positive stance towards the United Kingdom despite the challenges and disruptions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya has also remained in constant contact with the Government of the United Kingdom throughout this pandemic in order to maximize the opportunity for cooperation.” Kenya said it its protest letter.
What appears to have irked the Kenyan government, even more, is the fact that the country has remained a responsible actor, nationally, regionally, and globally throughout the pandemic period.
“Kenya’s performance in managing, combating and containing the spread of COVID-19 has been singled out and lauded by many partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) as being exemplary and worthy of recognition and support,” the MFA reiterated
As a result of the activities of the UK, Kenya instituted new protocols targeting Britain including having all passengers originating from or transiting through UK airports undergo mandatory 14-day isolation at a government-designated facility at their own cost upon entry into Kenya.