KQ resumes flight to Madagascar

February 4, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has resumed flights to Madagascar after a one week disruption due to instability in that country.

The airline which has been monitoring the security situation in Madagascar said on Wednesday that it would resume its current twice a week schedule immediately.

“A third frequency to Antananarivo starts on February 10th and now passengers to the Indian Ocean Island can choose whether to travel on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays,” said a statement from the airline.

The carrier temporarily suspended its flights to Antananarivo last Saturday after the closure of a media house sparked riots across the country.

Madagascar\’s sacked mayor Andry Rajoelina and President Marc Ravalomanana\’s regime have been on collision course since late last year, when the mayor\’s private television network was closed down by the authorities.

At least 68 people died in riots that erupted during protests called by Rajoelina to increase pressure on the president and his government.

The direct flights were launched in November last year and effectively made Madagascar the 44th destination in Africa for KQ to operate in, and the second within the Indian Ocean.

In a statement, Kenya Airways also announced that it was scheduled to get its fifth Boeing 737-800 on February 11 in Seattle, USA. The new aircraft is expected to enhance the airline’s capacity to deliver on its intra-African routes, particularly the planned introduction of flights to Congo Brazzaville in March. 

The resumption of flights came even as hundreds of supporters of Rajoelina gathered Wednesday in front of his office to protest against his dismissal in the wake of rioting that killed 68 people.

Rajoelina, the new leader of the Indian Ocean island\’s opposition, was sacked Tuesday by the interior ministry and replaced as Antananarivo mayor by a provisional administration.

His dismissal came hours after he announced plans to unveil a transitional government on Saturday, having proclaimed himself in charge of the country\’s affairs and accused President Ravalomanana of being a dictator.

Rajoelina also suffered another blow when the Constitutional Court declared itself incapable of ruling on his demand to have Ravalomanana removed.

The deposed mayor has also called for another rally on Saturday to unveil his transitional government.

Foreign powers and the United Nations have expressed concern over the political turmoil on the Indian Ocean Island and appealed for calm.

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