NAIROBI (Reuters) -Tanzania has withdrawn approval for Kenyan national carrier Kenya Airways to operate flights between the Kenyan capital Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, its civil aviation authority said on Monday.
Tanzania said the decision was taken in retaliation for Kenya’s denial of rights to Tanzania national carrier Air Tanzania to operate cargo flights between the two countries.
In a statement, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) said it decided “to rescind the approvals for Kenya Airways (KQ) to operate passenger flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam… with effect from 22 January 2024.”
However, in separate statements posted on X platform late on Monday, the Kenyan and Tanzanian foreign ministers said both countries would work together to solve the issue within three days.
“We have jointly agreed that our respective Civil Aviation Authorities will work together to have the matter resolved amicably within the next three days. There should therefore be no cause for alarm,” Kenya’s foreign minister Musalia Mudavadi said.
Kenya Airways said it was aware of the ban and was engaging aviation authorities in both countries to find a solution to avoid flight disruptions between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Kenya Airways is one of Africa’s largest airlines. Tanzania, where attractions include mountains and vast wildlife reserves that teem with game, draws more than a million tourists a year, making it one of its biggest markets.
The clash between Tanzania and Kenya adds to a growing number of trade and commercial disputes between members of the East African Community (EAC), a regional bloc that operates a customs union.
Kenya has previously complained about cheap products from neighbouring Uganda and blocked some, including milk and sugar, drawing protests from Kampala.
Landlocked Uganda has also taken Kenya to a regional court over a dispute related to the importation of petroleum products.
Although Air Tanzania is a small airline, in recent years authorities have been trying to expand its fleet, routes and operations to earn a bigger share of revenues from the region’s aviation business.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema, additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya, Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Christina Fincher and Barbara Lewis)