How Somalia-Kenya diplomatic tiff made life difficult for air travelers in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The suspension of flights from Kenya to Somalia has made life difficult for air travelers connecting Nairobi and Mogadishu, given the cost of air tickets to other routes, which is almost double the cost of the route from origin.
Cost analysts say the money used from Nairobi to Mogadishu using other routes could be more than what people pay to travel to and from Instabul. When using Nairobi to Mogadishu via Addis Ababa, part with $ 480 while from Instabul to Mogadishu is around $ 450.
All flights to Mogadishu from Nairobi must pass through Addis Ababa after Kenya banned direct flights. Kenya is believed to have taken the lead after it emerged that Somalia had not lifted the ban on Miraa.
A direct flight from Mogadishu to Nairobi takes an hour and a half while a similar flight to Istanbul takes seven hours. A trip from Mogadishu to Nairobi via Addis Ababa takes you around 12 hours depending on the passengers who have been through the ordeal.
Before the ban, you had to part with $ 450 from Nairobi to Mogadishu. The diplomatic tiff continues to wreak havoc among innocent citizens who travel to and from the two countries for business and other reasons.
The ban has turned out to be a boon for Ethiopian Airlines, which is killing it because travelers have no options. Displacement, mainly of Somali nationals to and from Kenya, is a daily phenomenon.
Salam Air deputy director Hashi Mohamed Salad said the ban had negatively impacted professionals, adding that most people had lost their jobs due to diplomatic disputes between the two countries.
“Several workers in the aviation industry have lost their jobs because the airlines are grounded,” Hashi told HOL.
In addition to job losses, the aviation official said, airlines have had to bear the brunt of paying for planes that are not in use.
“Most airline rental planes also have to pay parking fees, but they don’t make any money. “
There is also the fear that even with the resumption of direct flights, “some of these passengers are not being picked up,” Hashi said. Aviation related sectors such as carriers have also had to contend with rising operating costs.
Somalia had temporarily restored diplomatic relations with Kenya following Qatar’s intervention, but the move did not last long after Kenya retaliated. Nairobi maintains that only humanitarian and medical flights are allowed into Somalia.
A fortnight ago, Kenya accused humanitarian and medical evacuation flights of illegally clearing passengers and subsequently issued a similar warning. The two countries have hot and cold relations on this matter.