Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to end a stalemate that was affecting their long-standing bilateral relationship.
Following talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete, Kenya Airways flight frequency to Tanzania will resume to 42 up from 14 times a week and tour vans from Tanzania will be able to pick up passengers from Kenyan airports.
“This means that with immediate effect Tanzania registered vehicles will access the Jomo Kenyatta Internal Airport (JKIA) as before and Kenya airways will continue with its normal operations,” Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador, Amina Mohammed said during a press briefing.
Last week the Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) ordered Kenya Airways to reduce its weekly flights. The carrier began flying only twice daily as a result of the decision.
Earlier in the year, Kenya resorted to banning Tanzania tour vans form accessing its airports and tourist sites in line with the 1985 bilateral tourism agreement.
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Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said that this will guarantee a level playing field, “Since Kenya has kept her part of the deal, but has been denied the same opportunity to operate in Tanzania”.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s national carrier welcomed the move stating that it is a step forward on finding resolutions on the issues affecting the Bilateral Air Services Agreements
“Kenya Airways would like to express gratitude to the Governments of Kenya and Tanzania for resolving the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) in a timely manner. The developments will see the airline resume full operations to Dar-es-Salaam following the announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the airline said in a press release.
Following the talks between the two heads of state, in the coming weeks the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries are expected to convene to discuss the pending issues pertaining to the 1985 bilateral agreement.
The stalemate between the two neighbours was argued to be against the spirit of the East African Community (EAC). EAC has been working on fast tracking the harmonisation process of the EAC tourism laws and review the bilateral agreement.