A recent post on an airline website has made Ministers of Transport in Kenya and Tanzania to bristle.
They are reacting furiously against the statement from the Royal Dutch Airline which insinuated that Nairobi and Dar-es-salaam cities were blanketed in civil unrest.
The airline went a step further by cancelling flights to Nairobi, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro and Dar-es-salaam over alleged safety concerns.
Latest reports are to the effect that the Royal Dutch Airline (KLM) has already removed the post from their social media accounts as well as the airline website.
Earlier, the Tanzanian Minister of Works and Transport Prof Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa wrote that he was seriously concerned by the KLM statement about civil unrest in the country.
The statement posted on KLM website also announced the cancellation of their flights scheduled for Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar-es-salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) which serves Arusha and Kilimanjaro Regions.
As far as Mbarawa is concerned, the KLM statement is … “baseless, alarmist, unfounded, inconsiderate and insensitive and has caused unnecessary fear and panic to the general public and aviation industry at large!” He maintains.
“There is no (cases of) civil unrest within the United Republic of Tanzania,” the Minister’s dispatch adds.
“The Ministry wishes to inform the general public and international communities that the two airports of Kilimanjaro and Dar-es-salaam continue with normal operations.”
“A total of 17 flights out of the 18 International Scheduled Flights with 2545 passengers were facilitated in Dar-es-salaam,” the statement reveals the airport status on January 27, 2023.
According to the ministry, Kilimanjaro Airport handled other international flights with 823 passengers in total, on the same day.
But Kilimanjaro Airport, which is Tanzania’s major tourists’ landing pad, feels the pinch more, because KLM operates daily flights to the terminal, arriving there every night, with each seat occupied.
All the same, Mbarawa concluded his statement by assuring that the Aviation industry in Tanzania remains “safe and secure,” as per International Standards.
On his part, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Kipchumba Murkomen claims to have spoken to the Royal Dutch Airline’s Country Representative to Kenya.
“…About a false claim posted on their social media about the purported civil unrest in Kenya!”
“I have officially registered my protest with the airline against this unfounded, false, insensitive and misleading information that paints Kenya in a bad light.”
The Cabinet Secretary points out that Kenya and the Netherlands enjoy very good diplomatic relations and KLM as a company is highly regarded in the country.
“We are therefore shocked that the airline would spread such fabricated, malicious and false allegations without fact-checking and considering the probable effects to our country’s image and economy.”
But it seems the infamous post has already been deleted from KLM’s social media pages.
However, Kenya says the discussions will continue through diplomatic channels to ensure the same does not recur.