What Kenya’s Dubai Flight Suspension Means For Passengers

Kenya has suspended all flights from Dubai for seven days. This comes after the UAE extended its ban on flights from Kenya after passengers flying from Nairobi were suspected of counterfeiting PCR test results. Kenya Airways and Emirates have suspended flights with immediate effect.

What Kenya’s Dubai Flight Suspension Means For Passengers
Kenya has responded to the UAE with its own flight ban. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Kenya suspends Dubai flights for a week

To curb the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the UAE banned travel from several African nations, including Kenya. The country recently extended its ban on flights from Kenya after discovering many passengers holding negative PCR tests were later testing positive for the virus upon arrival.

In return, Kenya has suspended all inbound and transit flights from Dubai. The suspension came into effect on Monday at midnight and will last for seven days. The ban does not affect cargo operations, which are set to continue as usual.

What Kenya’s Dubai Flight Suspension Means For Passengers
The flight ban came into effect on Monday at midnight. Photo: Getty Images

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director-General Gilbert Kibe said,

“Inbound and transit passenger flights from UAE are suspended for a period of seven days. We are doing this to reciprocate a ban on Kenyan passenger flights to UAE.”

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Kenya Airways and Emirates suspend flights

As a result of the reciprocal flight bans between Kenya and Dubai, flag carriers Kenya Airways and Emirates have suspended all Kenya-Dubai flights until further notice. So what does this mean for passengers?

Kenya Airways will refund all passengers with bookings within the suspension period. Additionally, these passengers will be allowed to rebook with the airline at no extra cost once the flight suspension is over.

Kenya Airways said,

“Refunds can be offered via an EMD Voucher that can be utilized within one year from date of issue.”

Kenya Airways at Nairobi
Emirates and Kenya Airways have suspended flights with immediate effect. Photo: Getty Images.

Emirates has also suspended its Nairobi-Dubai flights. The airline advises passengers with bookings to hold onto their tickets until flights resume.

Emirates said,

“Affected customers do not need to call us immediately for rebooking. Customers can simply hold on to their Emirates tickets and when flights resume, get in touch with their travel agents or booking office to make new travel plans.”

Under new measures, passengers both arriving and transiting in Dubai will need to take a PCR test upon arrival and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result.

Kenyan passengers found with false PCR tests

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) first banned flights from Kenya on December 20th before extending the ban on December 24th. It alleges that many passengers traveling from Kenya falsified their PCR tests to gain entry and tested positive upon arrival.

KCAA Director-General Gilbert Kibe stated that a coalition of private medical testing centers was responsible for the scheme. Kenya’s Ministry of Health is conducting an investigation into the testing centers.

Kenya Airways 787 Heathrow Getty
The UAE extended its ban on flights from Kenya two weeks ago. Photo: Getty Images

The KCAA added,

“They banned flights from Kenya due to many false negative COVID-19 PCR results. The Ministry of Health is investigating and will report findings soon.”

COVID cases in Kenya are soaring, with the country’s positivity rate climbing from 0.5% in October to 20.8% on January 10th. The country has vaccinated around 10.6 million of its citizens, with 4.48 million receiving two or more jabs.

What do you think of Kenya and the UAE’s tit-for-tat flight bans? Have your travel plans been affected? Let us know in the comments.

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