KLM Cancels Tanzania Flights For Crew Safety, While Kenya And Tanzania Put The Airline On Blast

KLM is refusing to allow its crews to spend the night in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania due to a security threat. However their messaging is causing geopolitical blowback. They described civil unrest in both Kenya and Tanzania when cancelling flights. And the governments in both countries have responded with anger over the accusations.

Here’s a report from a flight that was the apparent victim of a terrorist threat.

Air France KLM has substantial operations into Africa, and owns a stake in Kenya Airways. KLM’s scheduled service includes,

  • Amsterdam – Kilimanjaro – Dar es Salaam – Amsterdam

  • Amsterdam – Zanzibar – Dar es Salaam – Amsterdam

KLM has apologized for describing the reason for flight cancellations as ‘civil unrest’ – language which has angered local officials – saying that it was an imprecise choice of words. They also said that the message should only have gone out to customers in Tanzania, not Kenya, and should have referred to a local threat and not civil unrest.

It’s not as though unrest is completely foreign to Kenya, of course. On the one hand it’s because civil unrest does happen that they may be extra sensitive, but being offended as though such a thing is unthinkable seems a bit much.

Meanwhile the U.S. has issued a security alert for Dar es Salaam so it seems KLM is, at least, not alone in its assessment.

“Terrorist groups could attack with little or no warning, targeting hotels, embassies, restaurants, malls and markets, police stations, places of worship, and other places frequented by Westerners,” the US embassy said in its alert circulated through various social media platforms on Wednesday.

KLM’s Tanzania flights are being disrupted by security risks. Usually governments encourage airlines to truthfully share the reasons why they cancel flights. Here the affected governments are offended that KLM has done so.

(HT: Paul H.)

About Gary Leff

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  1. The truth hurts sometimes. I can understand the government of Tanzania not wanting bad publicity but if they can’t put down the terrorists this is what they get. On the other hand, I do agree Kenya should be upset if they didn’t have any current risks and got included in a blast about Tanzania.

  2. I don’t really have much context here, but it very well could be that these governments are concerned that referring to whatever is happening as such could actually make it worse. It may not just be a case of authoritarian governments objecting to anything that reflects poorly on them. I’m not assuming that this is actually the case, but I’m not assuming it isn’t either. Always a good practice not to jump to conclusions, especially based on ideology or worldview.

  3. I was one of the passengers on the ground in Tanzania that had their KLM flight cancelled (with very poor communication from the airline). I was at the airport all day–there was absolutely no civil unrest. It was a normal day like any other and all other airlines (both Africa based and Europe based) were flying as usual.

  4. Well, good for KLM to apologize – they realized that imprecise language has the potential to hurt people. Gary, I must disagree with the logic in your piece. Because civil unrest occurs in the country, you can therefore use that term without consideration? I think not. In that case, the brawl at my local bar counts as civil unrest because January 6th happened.

  5. I flew home from Kilimanjaro yesterday on Qatar In business class. I was seated next to a woman whose KLM flight had been cancelled because of civil arrest. I was told that KLM did absolutely nothing to try to place her group of 7 with another carrier. They ended up buying a flight on Qatar on their own.

  6. Europeans want to shut down travel due to climate change. This isn’t up for debate. Watch more and more airlines cancel flights or service due to “civil unrest” or “out of an abundance of caution”. European airlines are much more controlled by their respective governments so this is easier for them to accomplish over the next several years.

  7. I would say the US has plenty of civil unrest from time to time too (consider Jan., 6 and all the mass shootings) and Europe is under threat from the monster in Moscow. It’s a sad part of reality that you aren’t completely safe anywhere, but life goes on and we make the best of it. Tanzania is an awesome destination – best game parks in the world, and Zanzibar is fascinating.

  8. Don you’re dumb

    KLM is as much of a greedy corporation as any other.
    Their CEO is a greedy bastard who came from AC (the worst airline in North America). That says it all.

  9. @DaveS: “I would say the US has plenty of civil unrest from time to time too (consider the George Floyd riots by leftist insurgents that burned dozens of cities, inner city gang violence all over the country that is not prosecuted by Soros DAs and the uncontrolled southern border which leads to thousands of violent criminals entering the US illegally) and Europe is under threat from the monster in Moscow.

    There, fixed it for you.

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