It is now cheaper to do a round trip between Mogadishu and Istanbul than a similar trip between Mogadishu and Nairobi, thanks to the ongoing ban by Kenya on flights to and from Somalia.
A one way ticket from Mogadishu to Istanbul costs about $450 while to Nairobi, you have to pay with $480.
This is because one has to fly to Addis Ababa then to Nairobi following Kenya’s closure of its airspace for three months starting in May, 2021.
A direct flight from Mogadishu to Nairobi takes one and half hours while a similar one to Istanbul takes seven hours.
Prior to to the Kenyan ban, a return ticket between Mogadishu and Nairobi would cost an average of $400.
But since the May notice to airman (NOTAM) by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority KCAA) banning flights for three months, travellers between the two nations now have to transit via Addis Ababa.
As a result, one has to pay with $850 to travel from Mogadishu to Nairobi and back.
The ban has turned to be a boon for Ethiopian Airlines which is making a kill as travellers are left with no options.
Travel, mainly by Somali nationals to and from Kenya is a daily phenomenon.
The two countries are interconnected through trade and familial ties hence the unavoidable fate of flying.
But as the Ethiopians cash in on the ban, the aviation and related sectors are counting financial loses and loss of livelihoods.
A manager at Salam Air told HOL the ban has adversely hit the sector.
“Several workers in the aviation sector have lost jobs because the airlines are grounded,” the manager said.
Besides the job losses, the aviation official said, the airlines have had to bear the brunt of paying for aircrafts which are not in use.
“Most of the airlines lease aircrafts and they also have to pay parking fees yet they are not making any money.”
There is also the fear that even with the resumption of direct flights, ‘we may not get back some of these passengers’, the manager said. Related aviation sectors such as transporters have also had to contend with the rising operating costs.
For travellers, it is a costly affair since they now have to either limit their travel even when it is essential or dig deeper into their pockets making life harder especially in light of the economic hit occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.