Dar, Nairobi to address banned shuttles at Jomo Kenyatta Airport

A Delegation from Dar es Salaam will be meeting Kenyan government officials in Nairobi this week, to address the issue of Tanzanian registered vehicles being banned from venturing near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, will lead the team next Thursday. 

The minister says the decision by Kenya to refuse Tanzanian vehicles from either picking or dropping passengers at the Nairobi terminal has a negative impact on the two countries relations, the tourism industry as well as regional trade as a whole.

“But we are not going to emulate the hostile approach from our neighbour; instead we intend to solve the issue diplomatically,” said Mr Nyalandu.

An average of 300,000 travellers from Tanzania use JKIA as their portal to various destinations every year. There are at least five shuttle bus companies from Tanzania that ferry passengers to and from Moshi, Arusha and Nairobi.

The shuttle drivers reveal here that the order restricting them from entering JKIA was issued by Kenyan authorities last December, causing uncertainty among tourists travelling to Tanzania via the JKIA and losses for their firms.

Shuttle operator, Mr Paulo Ole Sadomaki said they were now forced to drop passengers along Nairobi-Mombasa Road, where travellers are compelled to hire taxis from the junction to the airport, the exchange has caused many delays, loss of baggage and missed flights.

"We have been harassed by security officials at the JKIA as they ask where our clients come from. When they say they hail from Tanzania they ask why they do not fly through the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) or Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA),” said Mr Mosses King’ori of Riverside Shuttle Services.

Another driver, Mr Assey Faustin, noted that there are times security officials threaten them that their vehicles will be stopped from entering Kenya altogether. Director of River Side Shuttle, Mr Kingori, said this action has affected his business.

His clients from Europe and America cancelled their safaris, he narrated. Earlier minister for East Africa Community Affairs, Mr Samwel Sitta, was quoted saying the decision is unfriendly and jeopardised the East African integration.

Reports have that, since Dar es Salaam prevented Kenyan tour vehicles from entering the local National Parks, the country retaliated by announcing that the airport is a tourist attraction.
Source: Daily News, reported by  Marc Nkwame from Arusha, Tanzania
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