29-04-2023 by Freddie del Curatolo
More flights from abroad over Mombasa, hopefully by June something will change.
The issue of 'landing fees' for scheduled international flights, which Kenyan tourism associations have been raising for some time, has finally landed in parliament, pushed by several parties who have an interest in speeding up the process of resuming and upgrading connections between Kenya and the rest of the world in order to revive the economy linked to the sector
Senator Miraj Abdullahi asked the Senate Standing Committee on Roads, Transport and Housing to comment on the restrictions on international scheduled flights at the Moi International Airport in the Kenyan coastal city.
The senator asked the committee in particular to report back to parliament on why the international airport has refused to land several flights that applied to reopen or set up the route to Mombasa after the post-pandemic reopening.
The decisive push comes from the Kenya Coast Tourist Association, which has called for measures to cancel the effects of the suspension of flights and offer not only the scheduled airlines, but the entire tourism industry on the coast the chance to benefit from the increase in attendance.
In particular, the Ministry of Transport is being asked why the landing licences in Mombasa have been revoked from Turkish Airlines, which for many years before the pandemic had successfully operated the Istanbul-Mombasa route, with many connections from Europe and many also from Italy, and from Qatar Airways, which can currently land safely in Zanzibar, directly from Doha and also with many connections not only from Europe but also from the Middle East and East Asia. The total opening of Mombasa to companies that request it, with a transparent policy on landing fees, would benefit the whole of Kenya and not just the coastal city. Among the companies that have recently applied to fly back to Mombasa are Dutch KLM and Emirates with a direct flight from Dubai.
The parliamentary committee will also have to comment on requests from the tourism industry and foreign institutions present in Kenya, as was also done recently by our ambassador Roberto Natali, on the so-called open skies policy to attract more international traffic to MIA and promote the tourism industry on the coast. For many years, the impression of the promotion and hospitality associations has been that the Kenyan national airline, in great financial difficulty, was trying not to lose the already few privileges of handling passenger traffic from other nations, because it was unable to forge alliances with other stronger airlines. The government is trying hard to sell Kenya Airways due to its inability to meet its debts and at the same time Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen has declared that from June the company will no longer be able to count on state aid. Perhaps that will be the time to give opportunities to the other lines and boost domestic traffic and that with neighbouring states on the African continent to the limit.
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