The Kenyan government said on Wednesday that the resumption of direct flights between Mogadishu and Nairobi will help boost bilateral ties between Kenya and Somalia. Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the historic direct flights between the two cities signalled a revitalization of cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, brimming with optimism that it would also enhance trade. “For us in the transport sector, we have always been working to boost Nairobi’s position as a regional aviation hub,” Macharia said in Nairobi.
Macharia was when he received the first direct flight after 10 years of suspension, carrying 49 passengers from the Somali capital, landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi shortly after 1:00 p.m. The re-launch of direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu was agreed upon at bilateral talks between Kenya and Somalia that were led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed during his first State visit to Kenya last week.
For the last 10 years, flights from Mogadishu were landing at Wajir airport for thorough screening and vetting of passengers before proceeding to Nairobi. Kenya in 2006 introduced a stopover in Wajir International Airport in northeast Kenya for all flights coming to Nairobi from Mogadishu over security concerns. “With the opportunities available in the region and the improved security environment and stability following the recent election of President Mohamed, the resumption of direct flights could not have come at a better time,” Macharia said.