Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have begun talks to reopen flights between both countries after a COVID-19 related ban, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Raychelle Omamo, has revealed.
Both countries have been embroiled in feud over a mutual flight ban that Dubai began, citing COVID-19 infections, before Nairobi reciprocated. But Omamo said his country would consider allowing Emirati aircraft only after negotiations with the UAE to reopen their airspace to Kenyan flights.
He added that the two sides were holding discussions on the matter but there were no certainties on when flights could resume.
“We are working together to reach an understanding on how we can return to normalcy,” she told a press conference at her offices at the weekend.
“I have no white smoke to report today but I want to tell you that we are active on the matter and it is our hope that we will reach an understanding that will enable them to open up their flight paths and for us to do the same. It is a matter that is under discussion.”
The UAE’s decision to ban flights late last year was prompted by Kenya’s Covid-19 cases, which the country reported had reached 30 per cent at the time.
Some travellers from Kenya have also complained about forged PCR certificates, and some have tested positive upon arrival. Since then, the positive rate has dropped to below ten percent, and some of Kenya’s neighbors have been taken off the UAE’s red list, such as Uganda and Rwanda.
After the UAE retained Nairobi in its list of those who will not be allowed to fly, Kenya extended the ban last week.
It was common for travellers seeking connections to other parts of the world or to Africa to fly daily from both countries to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and sometimes Sharjah.
As a result of the ban, passengers who planned to fly through the UAE will have to reroute their flights.
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