Kenya Airways (KQ)  suspends all flights to Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

By Burnett Munthali

Kenya Airways (KQ) has suspended all flights to Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, due to what the airline called “continued detention of KQ employees by the Congolese military intelligence unit.

A statement released by airline today says KQ is unable to effectively support it’s flights without personnel hence the decision to suspend flights to Kinshasa effective tomorrow April 30 2024 until further notice.

Reads the statement in part: “The continued detention of our employees has made it difficult for us to supervise our operations in Kinshasa, which include customer service, ground handling, cargo activities and generally ensuring safe, secure and efficient operations. We also ask that our staff be treated humanely and respectfully during this unlawful detention.”

The airline also apologised to its customers affected by the measure and advised them to contact KQ customer care teams as it engages relevant government agencies in both the DRC and Kenya to resolve the standoff.

KQ said last week that the DRC military intelligence arrested it’s employees at the airline’s Kinshasa Airport office on April 19 allegedly because of “missing custom documentation on valuable cargo”.

But the carrier’s chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the cargo in question was not uplifted or accepted by KQ due to incomplete documentation.

He said this cargo, whose contents were not specified, “was still in the baggage section being cleared by customs when the military unit arrived and alleged that KQ was transporting goods without customs clearance.”

The governments of DRC and Kenya were yet to comment on the issue.

Air transport is at the heart of global economic growth. It creates employment, facilitates trade, enables tourism and supports sustainable development all around the world.

Kenya Airways was incorporated in 1977 as the country’s national flag carrier and was fully owned by the Government. Over the next 15 years, the airline accumulated massive financial losses, along with crippling debt arrears from its failure to service its loans.

The airline was owned by the Government of Kenya until April 1995, and it was privatised in 1996, becoming the first African flag carrier to successfully do so. Kenya Airways is currently a public-private partnership.


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