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.
More information from @GdenAantrekker about @KLM flight to Dar es Salaam
He was a passenger and gave account what happened
Due to terror threat, the airline flew back the crew that was supposed to sleep over from the flight from Amsterdam
— Maria Sarungi Tsehai (@MariaSTsehai) January 27, 2023
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.
Sawa! Ila tumetumia nguvu nyingi sana ili KLM wakanushe hii kauli. Kwa kifupi ni kuwa hawakurupuki na hawajakosea
Kama hata baada ya hili nado hawatataka crew members wao wakae Dar Es Salaam basi tungoje tu KIBUYU KITALIA na akili itatukaa sawa pic.twitter.com/p41RnRyHLH
— Kigogo🇹🇿 (@kigogo2014) January 29, 2023
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.
#Kenya🇰🇪- Scenes of unrest and tyres burning near the roundabout of the A1 road and surrounding streets of #Kondele in #Kisumu, amid the aftermath of the presidential election result announcement pic.twitter.com/G87vvuh55l
— CyclistAnons🚲 (@CyclistAnons) August 15, 2022
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.)