Somalia revokes flight licenses of two Kenyan airlines

The Somali federal government has revoked the flight licenses of two Kenyan airlines, effectively banning them from undertaking any flights in Somalia, media sources have told the VOA.

the Somali government accused the two airlines of violating its Covid-19 directives regarding the ban on any flights transporting the stimulant khat from neighbouring countries.

Buff Air Services and Silverstone Air Services reportedly brought consignments of khat to Somalia by misleading the authorities that they were carrying medical aid. The consignments arrived in the Somalia towns of Buhodle and Jowhar on 26 May and 31 May respetively.

The Somali federal government has banned the importation of khat, a stimulant leaf popular among Somalis, from neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia, saying it contributes to the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease.

However, consignments of khat still finds its way to the Horn of Africa nation by smuggling through the vast porous border it shares with the two countries and sometimes by cargo flights which are exempted from the flight ban hidden as food or medical consignments.

The two airlines affected and the Kenyan government have not yet commented on the development.