Flights from Somalia will fly directly to Nairobi cutting off the stop over at Wajir by December this year, both countries announced yesterday.
Addressing a media briefing after the IGAD extra ordinary Summit in Mogadishu Tuesday, Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed said the Presidents of both countrys had agreed that direct flights start in three months’ time.
“They agreed to work together towards removing the Wajir stopover by establishing security measures in both Mogadishu and Jomo Kenyatta airports. The two presidents agreed the in the next three months, that will fully take effect,” said Mohamed.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the move noting the issue was of common interest to both countries.
“I am very much grateful that the Republic of Kenya has understood our concerns and as the Minister said we will soon address those concerns in the best interests of both countries,” said President Mohamud
The agreement is expected to ease flight movement from Somalia to Kenya which currently have to stop at Wajir airport in Kenya’s north east. The stop over takes an average of one hour in which case travelers heading to Kenya are issued with visas before proceeding to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Security checks are conducted at the airport making the flight to Nairobi up to 3 hours.
Flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu take one and half hours.
A Joint Commission of Cooperation will meet soonest possible to agree on a visa regime, said Mohamed.
Somalia has on several occasions requested the Kenyan government to allow direct flights. In a February 2 meeting in the sidelines of African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Somalia’s foreign affairs minister Abdusalam Omer and his Kenyan counterpart Amina Mohamed relaunched the Joint Commission of Cooperation noting both country will work on promoting ties as well as enhancing future engagements between the two countries.
President Mohamud said both countries will work together in institutionalising economic cooperation noting that the only way out was for Kenya and Somalia to work together as neighbors for the betterment of their people.