Following a fourteen-year hiatus, Arkia Israeli Airlines (IZ, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) will resume direct flights to Kenya next month with a 3x weekly Tel Aviv Ben Gurion–Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta service. The announcement was made last week during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official state visit to Kenya.
The move marks an improvement in the troubled East African nation’s security apparatus which, in the last three years, has suffered from a string of deadly attacks undertaken by the Al Shabaab terrorist group from neighboring Somalia.
Israel suspended flights to Kenya following the 2002 Mombasa terrorist attacks in which two shoulder-launched Strela 2 (SA-7) Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM) were fired at an Arkia B757-200, 4X-BAW (msn 30179), as it took off from Mombasa. Both missiles missed their target.
A similar incident was averted six months later resulting in El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) suspending its flights to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta on May 17, 2003 on the advice of the Mossad.