Did Mogadishu Block Landing Rights for Kenya Airways Flights?

Did Kenya Airways Planes Face Denied Landings in Mogadishu?

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Odd data from flight trackers shows that Kenya Airways (KQ) had three instances where their planes either were unable to land at Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu or had flights canceled from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Kenya recently kicked off direct flights to Mogadishu after resolving previous diplomatic spats following high-level meetings between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Kenyan leader William Ruto in Nairobi.

However, events took a perplexing twist. On May 30, 2024, Kenya Airways flight KQ 362 to Mogadishu, operated by Embraer, was set to land at Aden Adde International Airport at 15.15 but got axed for reasons still murky.

Then, on June 1, another KQ aircraft on the same route departed Nairobi at 14.21 after a delay of an hour. The plane circled the Mogadishu sky for 35 minutes before heading back to Nairobi without landing, even as other airlines touched down with no issues.

On June 2, another KQ flight slated to depart at 13.30 for Mogadishu also got canceled. These three occurrences happened in close succession, and up to now, no formal explanation has emerged.

Neither the Somalia Civil Aviation Authority nor the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has spoken out about these incidents, although flight trackers verify them. Nairobi officials have stayed silent too.

KQ has been the go-to airline for trips to Mogadishu, especially now when Ethiopia faces regional disputes with Somalia due to a controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with North Western of Somalia regarding a section of the Red Sea.

Kenya plays a critical role in Somalia’s trade and security, with around 3,000 troops stationed through the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). Meanwhile, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) manage the majority of Jubaland state.

On Monday, the Director General of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Bashiir Moalim Ali Hassan, met with Italy’s Ambassador to Somalia, Ambassador Pier Mario Dacco’ Coppi, in Mogadishu.

The DG and the Ambassador gabbed about mutual interests, focusing on strengthening bilateral relations, especially in airport development, ground transport, road safety, and civil aviation.

Somalia canceled flights to Nairobi twice over an Indian Ocean maritime dispute with Kenya, a spat mostly settled after Somalia won a favorable judgment from the International Court of Justice around two years ago.

The two nations had severed ties, torpedoing trade partnerships. However, since Hassan Sheikh Mohamud returned to power, diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya have thawed significantly, as noted by political pundits.


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