Kenya lifts ban on Somalia flights

Kenya has lifted a ban on direct flights to and from Somalia barely a month after announcing a suspension of air travel between the two countries.

Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry says it hopes the move will lead to full normalisation of diplomatic ties.

However, the ministry said that all existing travel protocols will be applicable – with travellers requiring a negative Covid-19 certificate.

Somalia has welcomed Kenya’s decision to reopen its airspace.

“This move could pave the way for normalisation [of] the bilateral relations,” said Somali government spokesperson Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu on Twitter.

Kenya banned all flights to and from Somalia in mid-May but gave no explanation for the move.

It was a blow for Kenyan farmers of the narcotic leaf khat, who export it to Somalia.

Somalia is Kenya’s biggest market for the mild stimulant that is chewed while still fresh and thus needing to be transported within hours of being picked.

Relations between the two countries have been strained for years now due to a long running maritime border dispute that is now at the International Court of Justice.

Somalia has also accused Kenya of meddling in its internal affairs, a claim Nairobi has dismissed.

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