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Kenya-Tanzania air travel boost for business – EABC

Kenya has added Tanzania to nations whose citizens are exempted from mandatory quarantine

In Summary

•Tanzania had last month banned Kenyan airlines from its space.

•It lifted the suspension last week after Kenya opened its skies to her flights.

Kenya Airways plane Boieng 777-200 ER Photo/file
Kenya Airways plane Boieng 777-200 ER Photo/file

The resumption of flights between Kenya and Tanzania is key for bilateral trade, the East African Business Council has said.

It will help grow trade and investments between the two countries, the council says.

"This will spur regional tourism, intra-EAC trade and bilateral trade between Kenya and Tanzania offering steady business and economic rebound,” chief executive Peter Mathuki said over the weekend.

Tanzania had last month banned Kenyan airlines from its space, in retaliation to Kenya’s decision to put in place strict travel measures for its citizens over Covid-19 concerns.

It lifted the suspension last week after Kenya opened its skies to her flights.

"For the purpose of this release, therefore, the resumption and restoration of flights for all operators are with immediate effect," Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority director-general Hamza Johari said.

The Kenyan Government added Tanzania to the list of 147 nations whose citizens are exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

Other countries that have been added to the list include Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Though Kenyan and Tanzania have been falling in and out of love, the latest developments are expected to boost trade which is slightly in favour of Kenya.

In 2019, the value of Kenya’s exports to Tanzania stood at approximately $336 million (Sh 36.4 billion) while imports were valued at $275. Million (Sh29.7 billion).

“The East African Business Council commends the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) facilitating agreement on the resumption of air transport services in the EAC region,” Mathuki said in the statement.

EABC has been pushing for a coordinated approach on the resumption of regional air services over the last two months since the partner states started considering reopening their borders.

“With the two countries re-opening their airspaces to each other, we are confident that this will increase demand for travel services, ease movement of people and integrate logistics value chains for exports of goods, open access to a larger market and boost regional tourism,” said Mathuki.

Comparing March-July 2020 to last year in the same period, trade data shows the value of Kenya’s exports to Tanzania decreased by 9.8 per cent while imports decreased by 29.4 per cent.

From March to July 2020, Kenya exports stood at $169. Million (Sh18.3 billion) and imports $135 million (Sh14.6 billion), Central Bank of Kenya data shows.

To support the regional aviation industry, EABC is calling on partner states to consider waiving landing fees, reducing excise duty on aviation fuel, navigation, landing, parking and Covid-19 related fees, to the high cost of air travel.

Kenya opened its skies to international flights on August 1, the same time with Rwanda, almost three months after Tanzania, which lifted the ban in May.

Uganda is scheduled to resume international flights on October 1.