LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – After the Kenyan government banned passenger flights between Nairobi and London due to the pandemic earlier this year as a consequence of the UK government adding Kenya onto its list of unsafe countries to travel.
The aviation industry experienced heavy losses. Kenya Airways was no exception to the huge losses as it had reopened bookings for the key route ahead of the peak summer travel season.
Kenya’s national carrier is now set to resume flights to London from the 26th of June and will operate once weekly up till 28th of August. This is after after several months of business losses due to the ban after the Kenyan government banned flights from the UK, effective of April 9 in retaliation to a move by the UK to add the country on its travel ‘red list’.
In a text message to its customers today, KQ announced that the London flights were back and urged them to book.
“Our flights to London are back, book your flights ticket and travel safely to reconnect with family and friends you have been missing,” the airline said in the message.
The UK has opened up its country for tourists and also allowed its citizens to travel out for summer holidays in countries that have been considered to be safe.
Kenya and 42 other nations, however, remain on the list of countries whose citizens are prohibited from entering the UK following high levels of Covid-19 cases.
UK citizens and residents returning from the red-list nations are required to observe seven days of mandatory quarantine in government-approved hotels at their cost.
The UK has traditionally been a top tourism source market for Kenya. In 2019, the UK emerged fourth on ranking, tourists who visited having hit 181,484.
Kenya’s tourism industry had started its gradual return to activities in August with the resumption of international and domestic flights.
The country recorded a gradual growth in arrivals, since the resumption of international flights last year, registering 14,049 visitors in August, 26,018 in September, and 39,894, in October.
The two countries were set to hold talks after a spat over Covid-19 risk levels triggered a tit-for-tat travel blockade.
The UK claimed it based its decision on scientific evidence showing that Kenya had strains of the deadlier South African variant of coronavirus – an assertion Nairobi has rejected.
In April, the Foreign Affairs Secretaries for Kenya and UK said a joint committee would review the travel restrictions, which threatened bilateral trade, economic and security relations