The United States has filed an advisory report with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which states that the Kenyan airspace is dangerous.
The report comes at the time Kenya is making all efforts to comply with the conditions that would allow direct flights with the US after years of unsuccessful talks.
Saudi Arabia and Kenya are the only stable countries included on the list which has puzzled many on why the US would push to have the airspace of its strongest ally in the region blacklisted.
The more shocking thing about the report which tags Kenyan airspace as risky is that the USA grouped the country with several terror hotbeds like Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Somalia.
Backing the report, the US said:
“Neither the Notam nor the website direct or suggest that airlines avoid Kenyan airspace. The issuance of the Notam has no effect on continuing US efforts to support the Government of Kenya in meeting international standards for direct flights”.
In the IATA advisory, the USA suggested that there was a possibility of militancy or extremist activity within Kenyan airspace as Al Shabaab has shown intent on carrying out such attacks in Kenya, targeting US/Western interests including aviation interests among others.
US embassy in Nairobi said the subsequent listing of this Notam (Notice to Airmen) on the International Civil Aviation Authority Conflict Zone Information Repository website was just for people to be informed, and is consistent with US practice for other Notams.
A Notam is filed with the International Civil Aviation Authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.
In Kenya’s case, the advisory states that people are only being warned to fly with care when within, in, out of, or over the territory and airspace of Kenya at altitudes below 26,000 feet due to possibility of extremist or militant activity. The report however backs the Kenyan government’s main purpose in closing the Somalia refugee camps.
This is because it is somewhat euphemistic for the US to urge the government to reconsider its decision to close refugee camps in efforts to deal with the terrorist issues, yet on the other hand, declare her airspace unsafe due to terrorism.