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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Are you affected by Kenya flight ban?
Three-year-old Matthew Endicott from south London, at Heathrow Airport having arrived on the last BA flight from Nairobi, Kenya, with his mother
Flights between the UK and Kenya have been suspended because of an "imminent" threat to British planes.

The action follows warnings from the US about possible terrorist attacks throughout East Africa and south-east Asia, following Monday's suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia which killed 34 people.

The Foreign Office has advised against non-essential travel to Kenya while a total of 1,200 British tourists are now potentially stranded in the east African country.

Were you planning to fly to Kenya? How does the suspension affect your plans?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

It's actually good news for Kenya Airways as they will be getting all the business.
Neel Shah, Kenya

I get very annoyed at those who think the government are giving out warnings and taking action to 'turn up the heat' or to just generally be irritating. Would these people prefer the government keep quiet about these threats and then, if something did happen, kick up a stink because the government didn't issue any warnings? No, didn't think so.
Ross, UK

Cancelling flights because of an 'imminent' terrorist threat? How handy that al-Qaeda apparently raises its ugly head again, just as questions are being asked about the true motives for the Iraq war (WMDs etc). How useful that we in the UK overreact to a terrorist threat as never before, just when it seems Iraq's new rulers veer from chaos to incompetence and back again.
Chris Hollett, UK

We should help the Kenyan authorities to beef up security instead of taking one-off measures
Varge Lahiry, United Kingdom
I feel that the British Government had no choice but to stop flights to Kenya. Kenya is a country that relies heavily on tourism and yet even after the recent terrorist activities, security is still reportedly lax. We should work together with the Kenyan authorities and help them to beef up security in airports and hotels instead of taking drastic one-off measures.
Varge Lahiry, United Kingdom

So the British tourist market is depressed and they issue another warning about were not to travel. Well my flight is booked with Kenya Airways to Uganda and I'm going!
Sharon Stewart, UK

As always this ban on flights to Kenya affects the many Kenyans who need tourism for jobs. It doesn't affect the rich holiday makers who can just chose to travel somewhere else. The biggest difference between a developed and poor country is we can chose, the poor have few choices.
Simon Cross, UK

If the UK is the centre of Islamic terror hideouts and planning why do they waste time giving useless warnings. All the logistics for these murderers attracts comes from Europe and Saudi Arabia.
Matthew, Uganda

My father and cousins work together bringing tourists from abroad and providing transport and making accommodation plans for them. We believe that with concerted efforts, this nightmare can be vanquished. The new government needs to invest heavily in boosting security at the airports and the surroundings. As someone observed, it is easier to keep vigilance around Kenyan airports as they are surrounded by wide open spaces than say, Heathrow which is surrounded by commercial activities. BA flights are central to Kenya's economy and I dare say that President Kibaki and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Internal Security need to announce what measures they have come up with to control this panic situation. BA flights are crucial not only to tourism, but to travel by Kenyans.
Njoki Macharia, Canada

What a shame this has had to happen. With a country struggling to get back to its feet, successfully appointing a new government. My girlfriend's from Kenya and we go there every year and are always greeted by the friendliest people. We have also been to America - and I can tell you now, we felt a lot safer in Kenya.
Michael Moss, UK

One cannot yield to the "bully boy" mentality
Myles Kelleher, Ireland
Ireland has been in the grip of terrorism for 30 years. We never yielded to threats and intimidation - and we have come through. One cannot yield to the "bully boy" mentality unless one is willing to let them set the world's agenda. My wife, my two sons and I have booked to go to Kenya. We intend to go there!
Myles Kelleher, Ireland

I can't believe people get so hung up on not giving way to the terrorists. The price for this attitude is lives. What does this attitude achieve against the terrorists? Absolutely nothing except let them do what we know they're planning to do. Doesn't make sense does it? If we have notice of an imminent threat, then yes - ground the lot! I won't be getting on any plane, anywhere for the foreseeable future. I value my life too much.
Karen Hanley, UK

The US and UK only know how to give instructions to African countries, since the terrorists attacks in Kenya, I want anybody to raise up his/her hand and tell me what the US or UK has done. If we are having any terrorist attacks in Africa, it is brought on by the US and the UK. Africa does not have anything good for Bin Laden. So I think, the US and UK should learn how to handle their own problems rather than linking Africa to them.
Peter Njodzeka, Yaounde, Cameroon

To respond to Peter Njodzeka from Cameroon: Africa did plenty of good for Bin Laden when Sudan was host to his training camps throughout the 1990s, and to this day he enjoys plenty of financial and human support from North Africa. If al-Qaeda attacks Kenya, don't try to put the blame on anyone else but Bin Laden.
Chris, Madison, WI, USA

Who is their source of information, is it the same person who informed them about WMD in Iraq?
Stella Maranga, Tanzania
I am dismayed by the swift reaction of the British Government to the rather vague terrorist attack warnings in East Africa. Do they have real substantive information on terror attacks? Who is their source of this information, is it the same person who informed them about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
Stella Maranga, Tanzania

I feel to the people of Kenya. Having spent time in neighbouring Tanzania, I understand how truly beautiful, are, the people of the region. It is very unfortunate that terrorist have used the peaceful region for their own, wicked, gain. It is also unfortunate that the world has become what it has. It is a terrible thing to live in fear.
Joshua, Kentucky, USA

Why does everyone think this ban is in some way implying there is something flawed with Kenya or East Africa? Of course it's a beautiful place to holiday and it's probably just as safe as anywhere else. However, this is an attempt on the government's behalf to cover from lawsuits in the event that a terror attack does happen and it can be proved that their was prior knowledge. This is why the US Government is offering an average of $2 million per victim to the families of Sept 11th victims, and in return the families waive their rights to sue airlines, airports or the government.
Avril, NY, USA

Why can't we put some of our armed forces aboard these BA planes for a short period, rather than knee jerk reactions that seem to leave our own nationals stranded?
Richard Davies, UK

It's just this government's way of keeping up the heat
Raymond Hiskett, UK
If there is a GENUINE threat then of course it's a good thing to suspend flights. But I feel it's just this government's way of keeping up the heat so that they can go on trampling our freedoms in the name of national security. I don't trust this government to be straight with us.
Amanda, England

I have lived and worked in Kenya; love the place to bits, going back in August and no one will stop me. Are the roads and our homes safe??
Raymond Hiskett, UK

I guess the UK Government is in a no-win situation. Had they not bothered handed out warnings and ultimately blocking all flights to Kenya, and then a bomb had gone off in a plane or a plane been hijacked, you can bet your bottom dollar fingers would have pointed towards the Foreign Office for being so lapse. On the other hand now that they have actually taken action they are being damned for being over the top.
Russell O, England

I am soon to fly from Heathrow to Harare on Kenya Airways. I am booked on a flight that changes over in Nairobi. If there is a ban on such flights, it will affect me in a major way as my visa expires shortly and won't be able to stay any longer in the UK. Will I lose the money that I spent on my air ticket back home?
Simon Schoeman, UK/ Zimbabwe

The threat of terrorism is global and not confined to Kenya alone, as the State Dept warning and the UK flight cancellations seem to imply. The sure effect of these actions will be to hurt further the already fragile economy of an otherwise very hospitable country, Kenya.
Darlington Moshi, Kenya

Kenya is a beautiful country
Jagdip Singh, UK
I came back from Kenya two weeks ago and regularly visit the country that I grew up in. I still have family and friends in Nairobi. Kenya is a beautiful country and does not deserve the adverse psychological and economic impact this ban will have. I think the British Government should work together with the Kenyan Government and security detail to eliminate this and future threats.
Jagdip Singh, UK

The terrorists have achieved one aim, that of creating panic, disruption and economic loss while gaining some measure of admiration in the eyes of potential recruits without doing a thing. The UK and US Governments seem very ready to warn, ban and even invade when it suits but where is the help for countries like Kenya who have been their supporters in the past?
Clive, Kenya

Why has the British Government left our citizens to find their own way back? If they think a ban is necessary you would expect them to have at least put some organised measures into place to get people home quickly and safely.
Faiz, UK

It looks and feels like a soft target
Philip, Hampshire, UK
My in-laws are from Kenya, although now living in the UK because of very real security threats. I have spent much time in Nairobi, Mombasa and other locations in Kenya, and have always enjoyed my visits, the people and the country. Unfortunately security in Kenya is lax when compared to other places, it looks and feels like a soft target. I would love my new-born son to see his mother's country, the Cradle of Mankind, but I would worry for his safety at present. Kenya is a fantastic country, but needs massive reforms and development over many years in order to become a safer, more equitable place to live, work and visit. For many reasons, my thoughts are with relatives and close friends in Kenya right now.
Philip, Hampshire, UK

I think flight suspension is unjustified, and British Government should withdraw it soon. I feel this is giving in to terrorism in some way. Giving an alert would have been fine for people to be vigilant and also security be stepped up. Tourism is Kenya's fast growing economic sector and I am sure the Kenyan government is willing to go an extra mile for the sake of its safety.
Chepkwony Justus, Kenya

Why hand the terrorists another victory on a plate? Would it not be better to work with the Kenyan authorities to step up security at Nairobi airport instead?
Kevin Richardson, USA

I was in Kenya in 1998 when the American embassy was attacked. I know from my experience then that the Kenyan people were wonderful and made us feel very secure. I'm sure that they are doing the same at the moment for those having problems coming home.
Hannah King, UK

We were shocked by the lack of security at Nairobi airport
Cori, UK
When we were in Kenya on our honeymoon last September, we were shocked by the lack of security at Nairobi airport. When taking a flight to Lamu Island, our bags were left out unguarded on the runway area and anyone could have put something into them. Then, when our flight was called, we were left to wander around the runway area and actually got on board the wrong plane initially as no-one was checking tickets or directing us, let alone keeping things secure.

Kenya is a fantastic country - it has so much to offer the tourist and is so friendly and welcoming. It was so sad to hear about the decision to suspend BA flights - no doubt this action will no doubt harm their tourist industry, but after our experience, I can't say I was very surprised that the Foreign Office is exercising extreme caution over security.
Cori, UK

I returned from Kenya two weeks ago. The safari lodges I stayed at were near enough empty - Treetops only had seven people staying - it can accommodate 100. The rest of the lodges I stayed at advised us half of their bookings had been cancelled because of the war. Africa needs tourism, I feel cancelling flights is the wrong thing to do. I only hope other countries do not follow and cancel their flights as well.
Karen Timms, UK

I am on holiday at the moment in Mombasa. We are awaiting news on alternative arrangements.
Glynn Davies, UK

As a seasoned traveller to Kenya I will not be put off, I love the country and the people and have many good friends in Nairobi and Mombasa. I am due in Nairobi in July to start building a clinic and training facility for health care workers and will not be dissuaded by terrorists. Kenya needs foreign exchange and tourism to help its economy. Lets hope that this ban will be lifted soon.
Jon Armstrong-Wilkinson, UK

The now strengthening Kenyan economy will be seriously undermined
Jake Kidde-Hansen, Kenya
The British flight ban to Kenya is an unjustified excuse for "action" on the war on terror. Why don't they ban flights to Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, and even the USA, where there are also so-called "terror-alerts"? Safari destinations are remote, uncrowded and unlikely targets for attacks. The implications are that the now strengthening Kenyan economy will be seriously undermined by this irrational and deeply unfair action by the British Government.
Jake Kidde-Hansen, Kenya

I'm thoroughly annoyed about not being able to take my two week holiday to Kenya this Sunday. However, I would much rather be stuck in Britain and getting a full refund than at risk of terrorism thousands of miles from home.
James Broome, Wales

I am going to travel to Kenya in June for two reasons. One is a good friend's marriage, the second is to spend 3 1/2 months helping to build a training centre for literacy, health and microeconomic programmes. Fortunately most of our group is on other airlines, but I am flying British. I am just hoping that things will normalise enough to get me there. All things considered the most dangerous part of my trip is still the drive to the airport.
Mike McCarty, USA

Banning of flights to and from Kenya may not stop terrorism. Instead thorough checks at the entry points should be stepped up. Otherwise many innocent people coming and going out of Kenya will be disadvantaged by the actions taken by British Airways and the terrorists will take themselves as heroes.
Michael Sigei, Kenya

Michael Sigei - please be aware that British Airways did not cancel the flights. They were forced to by the British Government, as were Monarch.
Josie, Newcastle, UK (BA employee)

Life should go on uninterrupted
Rev. Enos Lwamba, Kenya
Let the terrorists not dictate or order our lives. Life should go on uninterrupted, while the security organs in Kenya and elsewhere do their work. I intend to use KLM on Saturday next week to Nairobi, and I hope they won't follow suit.
Rev. Enos Lwamba, Kenya

My wife and I were in Kenya last Easter on honeymoon and were perturbed by the lack security at MIA-Mombasa airport which consisted of one bored solider sitting under a parasol with a sub-machine gun propped up against the wall.

The people who will suffer from this turn of events will not be us Western tourists, who will all be insured against this sort of thing but the ordinary Kenyans working as safari guides, waiters, taxi drivers - all working nearly 24/7 to lift themselves out of the grinding poverty that so many Kenyans find themselves in. The very people al-Qaeda profess to be on the side of.
Alun & Jennifer Williams, United Kingdom

My boyfriend and I are due to fly to Nairobi, Kenya in a fortnight to start a year of travels around the world.

We were intending to go the Hong Kong and south-east Asia but completely changed our plans and decided on east Africa instead because of Sars. How's this for bad luck!!
Jo, Wales

The decision by the British Government to suspend flights to Kenya is regrettable, it plays into the hands of terrorists.

I hope the flight suspension will be lifted soon.

Kenya's economy relies on tourism as a mainstay.
Phil Sompisha, Kenya/US

I just hope Kenya Airways have enough capacity to cater for all the passengers not scared by this panic reaction!
Yul, Norway

I had planned a two-week volunteer trip abroad to work in a rural clinic in Kenya. Now I am truly considering cancelling this trip altogether. If these idiots only knew that they were hurting themselves by threatening such attacks maybe they would think otherwise. I am very frustrated by this whole ordeal and now have some major revisions to make to my summer volunteering plans.
Rafik Hodeib, US

I was due to go on business on Saturday for one week.

I am worried about going after Saudi attacks, so I am quite pleased that flights are suspended.
David Wilde, UK





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