Kenya Airways’ refusal to transport passengers from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya using national identity cards has irked governments, with Nairobi promising to engage the company directors to reverse the decision.
Although the three countries launched the use of IDs for cross-border travels in January, Kenya Airways has continued to insist on passports.
This came to light last week during a ministerial meeting in Kigali to assess the implementation of projects on the Northern Corridor.
Monique Mukaruliza, the Rwandan national coordinator of Northern Corridor projects, said they have received reports that Kenya Airways had refused to accept the use of IDs because of agreements that the company has signed with other international airlines.
Mukaruliza said under the tripartite arrangement, Rwanda and Uganda have written to the Kenyan government informing them of the issue, adding she was optimistic the company would change its stance.
“We have received complaints about how Kenya Airways turns away passengers with IDs. Kenya is expected to give a response on the matter at another ministerial meeting scheduled this week in Nairobi,” Mukaruliza said.
At the Kigali meeting, immigration officials from Uganda and Kigali tasked officials from Kenya to explain why the regional airline giant had refused to adapt to the Heads of State agreement.
Speaking to the The New Times, Joseph Nyagah, the Kenyan national coordinator of Northern Corridor Integration Projects, also acknowledged the complaints, saying a meeting is planned later this week with the airline’s authority over the issue.
“I have previously used my ID to travel with RwandAir and Air Uganda and its true Kenya Airways doesn’t allow these documents, which is not good. I have scheduled a meeting with company directors to discuss the matter.”
He said he was optimistic the company would rescind the decision.
The Kenyan official also said it was imperative for all the airlines to allow passengers with IDs to travel as a way of facilitating free movement of people.
Kenya Airways’ country station manager Dennis Monari acknowledged the meeting would take place, but added that they had started accepting the IDs.
“We were doing risk assessment and now we have been given the green light to use the IDs to travel,” Monari said.
The introduction of IDs to travel was aimed at facilitating free movement of people among three countries, which would later boost trade.