British Airways resumed its Nairobi-London flights on September 6, after a 5-month hiatus due to COVID-19 operatory environment guidelines.
Its first flight departed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 23:10 hours on Sunday landing in London at 06:15 hours on September 6.
“These direct return flights from Nairobi to the UK will enable many people to reunite with their loved ones who have been kept apart due to Covid-19,” Sohail Ali, British Airways’ Senior Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Airport Operations said in a statement.
Kenya lifted a ban on passenger flights between Nairobi and London ahead of the peak summer season.
The ban on flights had been imposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 2021 as a retaliatory move following the United Kingdom (UK) listing Kenya on its ‘Red List’, a list of countries whose nationals were barred from entering the UK to prevent the spread of Corona-virus.
“This move is expected to marginally increase the number of arrivals from the UK despite the current fears of the Covid-19 Delta variant, low flights’ frequency and the high quarantine prices for UK nationals arriving from the Red-List countries,” Cytonn Investment Analysts said in a commentary.
In terms of numbers, international arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Moi International Airport (MIA) registered an improvement from 1,177 arrivals in Q2’2020 to 113,307 arrivals in Q2’2021.
However, there was a decline of 7.5% in international arrivals from 122,498 persons in Q1’2021 to 113,307 persons in Q2’2021 through the same airports.
The decline in the number of international arrivals is expected to continue with Kenya currently in the Red-List of the UK and the US has raised its travel advisory from level 2 to level 3 in August 2021 since the two countries are regarded as key source markets of tourists in Kenya.