Kenya has banned all commercial and cargo flights to and from Somalia until August, despite agreeing to restore diplomatic relations just days ago. According to NOTAM – notice to airmen – filed by the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday, Kenya has suspended all flights with Somalia. Exceptions will be made United Nations flights, Medevac flights and humanitarian missions.
The surprise announcement comes on the heels of a thawing of relations between Kenya and Somalia this week. Somalia said it is restoring diplomatic ties with neighbouring Kenya after severing relations in December. Qatar was credited with mediating the talks.
Following Somalia’s announcement, Kenya said that it was looking forward “to further normalisation of relations by the Somali authorities.”
Kenya’s decision to suspend flights to Somalia also comes as Somalia’s Civil Aviation Authority’s Monday announcement that mirraa shipments from Kenya would remain suspended despite the diplomatic breakthrough.
Since the mirra-ban on Kenya was implemented, those involved in the supply chain of the stimulant moved their operations to Ethiopia. Almost all of the planes ferrying Ethiopian khat from Dire Dawa are Kenyan registered aircrafts.
At least a half dozen airlines will be affected by the suspension.