Travellers from Mogadishu will still have to contend with another three months of stop-over in Kenya’s north east after aviation authorities in Nairobi extended the direct flights ban to November this year.
A Notice to Airman (NOTAM) seen by Hiiraan Online indicates the ban will last until November 5 this year. The earlier NOTAM lapsed August 9 but the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority had for close to week gone mute over the way forward.
Hiiraan Online broke the story over the silence from Nairobi Tuesday prompting a response in the NOTAM dated August 14. A senior official at the Somali Civil Aviation Authority told Hiiraan Online it had not received any communication from its opposite in Nairobi following the lapse of the May 9 notice.
A reroute to Wajir Airport in north eastern Kenya adds an extra one and half hours to a journey from Mogadishu to Nairobi which would ideally take one and half hours. Once in Wajir, all passengers disembark from the plane and all luggage offloaded for security checks.
The ban which first began in 2006 following the emergence of the militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia lasted for ten years ending in early 2017 following talks between the Presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Uhuru Kenyatta.
The extension of the ban comes amid souring relations between Mogadishu and Nairobi as the two eagerly await the ruling from The Hague based International Court of Justice slate to start in September.