Kenya delays decision on additional Emirates flights

Kenya has delayed a decision on whether to grant Dubai’s Emirates airline a third daily flight into the capital of Nairobi until a nationalisation plan for embattled Kenya Airways is completed, according to media reports.

According to a report in Kenya’s Business Daily, Kenyan foreign affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said the move is designed to ensure that future air agreements take into account the position of the country’s national carrier.

“We do have a technical issue. It is actually a political issue that needs to be sorted…the National Assembly, as you know, has recommended that our airline needs to be structured,” Kamau said. “Because of that issue of our airline restructuring, we cannot make any decision for now.”

Kamau’s comments came as a UAE delegation was in Nairobi to sign a number of bilateral agreements, including diplomat training, sharing data on labour recruitment to combat human trafficking and to plan projects to be funded by the Abu Dhabi Development Fund.

No amended aviation cooperation agreement was included, which would allow Emirates to operate an additional daily flight to Nairobi.

Additionally, Kamau said that another UAE airline had applied for permission to begin operating to Nairobi, although he did not state which one.

Last week, Kenya’s National Assembly recommended that Kenya Airways be nationalised in a plan modelled on carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines in which it would be put under a holding company.

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