KQ holds plan to launch direct flights to Somaliland

KQ holds plan to launch direct flights to Somaliland. [Image: Courtesy]
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya airways has temporarily halted its plans to launch direct flights from Nairobi to Hargesia in Somaliland.

According to KQ, the move is due to delayed clearance and approvals.

The airline has in a statement said that flights have been put on hold until it meets Somaliland Aviation Authority’s travel requirements.

“Kenya Airways would like to clarify that plans to launch flights to Hargesia, Somaliland are currently on hold pending requisite clearance and approvals.

“We currently do not have flights in operation, contrary to information circulating on social media.” Read part of the notice by KQ.

The airline has not disclosed the requirements for operations needed by Somaliland.

KQ had plans to launch direct flights to Egal International Airport in Hargesia. The launch was expected to boost trade and strengthen diplomatic ties between Kenya and Somaliland.

In December 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somaliland’s Muse Bihi struck a deal that allowed direct flights between Nairobi and Hargesia.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement said, “President Uhuru will be seeking stronger relations between the two countries to bolster security, economic and social interactions.”

Somaliland is a self-declared sovereign state in the Horn of Africa, internationally considered to be part of Somalia.

It is currently seeking international recognition amid tensions with the government of Somalia. The government of Kenya had on Tuesday 11 banned all flights to and from Somalia with an exception of military flights.

The government however did not give reasons for the ban which came just days after Kenya and Somalia restored their diplomatic ties.