Kenya has allowed two aircrafts to fly to Somaliland to deliver electoral materials amidst suspension of flights to and from Somalia.
Through a diplomatic clearance seen by The Brief by the Foreign Affairs ministry on Thursday, Kenya allowed two airplanes operated by Astral Aviation to deliver the material from JKIA through Djibouti and to Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital.
Kenya Airways on May 12 clarified that direct flights to Hargeisa are yet to start due “pending requisite clearance and approvals”.
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Muse Bihi of Somaliland had in December 2020 agreed that the flights would begin by March this year. Somaliland is a breakaway state of Somalia in the north.
According to the clearance letter to the Transport department, a MacDonnell Douglas DCC-9F and a Boeing B727-727F, which are registered in Kenya, will be allowed to deliver the material between May 13 and 15.
“Kindly note that the clearance is granted with a 72-hour window to cater for any delays,” the letter, also copied to Somaliland Liaison Office, said.
Somaliland, which prides itself as an emerging democracy in the region, is due to hold local and parliamentary elections on May 3.
Ironically, Somalia is still in a political standoff over failure to agree on an election model with the opposition and regional states.
Last week, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority suspended flights between Kenya and Somalia for three months, with exception to medical evacuation and humanitarian deliveries.
The move came after Somalia grounded two aircraft owned by Kenyan firm Bluebird Aviation which the Somali Civil Aviation Authority accused of delivering miraa despite an existing ban.