The governments of Kenya and Tanzania have hit out at KLM for spreading “unfounded” claims after the airline published an advisory warning of travel disruptions due to purported civil unrest in the two countries.
The carrier had said that “civil unrest” between Friday and Monday could potentially force flights to be cancelled, before amending its alert to refer to an unspecified “local threat in Tanzania”.
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Kenya’s transport minister Kipchumba Murkomen said on Saturday that he had protested to the airline over “this unfounded, false, insensitive and misleading information that paints Kenya in bad light”.
“We will escalate this discussion through diplomatic channels,” he warned in a statement.
My statement on KLM’s false claims of Civil unrest in Kenya. pic.twitter.com/10hbqsJK9C
— KIPCHUMBA MURKOMEN, E.G.H (@kipmurkomen) January 28, 2023
Tanzania’s government also criticised the advisory, with the Minister for Works and Transport Makame Mbarawa saying there was no truth to the claims.
“This statement is baseless, alarmist, unfounded, inconsiderate and insensitive and has caused unnecessary fear and panic,” he said in a statement, urging travellers to ignore the advisory.
The airline, which is owned by Air France-KLM, apologised to the Kenyan government on Saturday, saying the advisory was “only meant for our customers in Tanzania”.
But the alert was “erroneously also shared with our customers in Kenya”, it said.
Air France-KLM has a 7.8 percent stake in Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, with the government owning 48.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Kenyans on social media have been calling for Nairobi to take action against the airline.
— Ahmednasir Abdullahi SC (@ahmednasirlaw) January 28, 2023
KLM’s landing rights must be suspended indefinitely ASAP until they publicly apologize for their false claim of civil unrest in Kenya. https://t.co/smPa50xnQe
— Fadhil (@Fadhilow) January 28, 2023