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Kenya grants Emirates airline third daily flight on Dubai-Nairobi route

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The Kenyan government has granted Dubai-based Emirates airline the nod to operate a third daily flight from Dubai to Nairobi, six months after the carrier’s bid was blocked.

Transport ministry had between January and June this year cancelled twice Emirates’ approval to operate a third daily service between its Dubai base and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi – in a move the airline described at the time, as startling.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director General Capt. Gilbert Kibe yesterday confirmed that in deed the airline had been allowed the privilege to fly the third flight between the two cities effective July 1, but only until October, 2017, after which the application will be rescinded again.

“It is true, a senior official at the Transport ministry has confirmed to me of the granting of the third daily flight from Dubai to Nairobi by Emirates airline, but the scheduled carrier will only operate the route up until October because it had sold the air tickets, after which the application will be withdrawn again. The other two daily flights will however not be affected.

The application had until that time been cancelled twice and reinstated twice,” said Kibe in a telephone interview.

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The latest development is a reprieve for the Gulf’s aviation industry after it had expressed concerns of a worrying sign that some countries including Kenya was doing more to restrict Gulf airlines’ access in an effort to protect their own flag carriers.

Kenya had blocked the move as it sought a review of its bilateral air service agreement between the two countries to better balance the share of services operated by Emirates and the ailing national carrier, Kenya Airways.

Emirates’ Kenya Account Manager Nafisa Salim said the nod will boost tourist numbers plying the route. The airline had been planning to use a Boeing 777-300ER on the route in a three-class, 354-seat layout.

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