Kenya seeks pacts to increase flight routes
Posted Sunday, July 29 2012 at 16:52
Kenya will negotiate air service agreements with 13 countries and review existing route pacts this fiscal year to allow local airlines more room to compete with global operators.
Transport ministry acting director of Air Transport Nicholas Bodo said last week the new agreements will allow Kenya to expand its aviation links to Qatar, Djibouti, Gabon, Mozambique, Mauritius, South Sudan, Namibia, Seychelles, Lebanon, Niger, Philippines, Algeria and Vietnam.
“This was requested by players in the airline industry and we expect that they will consider having operations in those countries,” said the Transport PS Cyrus Njiru during a Kenya Private Sector Alliance transport stakeholders’ forum in Nairobi last week.
The ministry started talks with Angola, Canada and Mexico but some were yet to be completed. Agreements were sealed with the Gambia, Zambia and Australia last year.
Apart from the market share gains, winning a ticket to more countries has the direct bearing on a country’s trade volumes and would be a big boost to a country like Kenya that is working to expand its tourism source markets.
Kenya Airways (KQ) last year asked the government to pursue flight deals with Mexico to use it as an entry point into South and North America.
“KQ had witnessed growth in the number of clients flying to the region via its code-sharing agreements and that is what prompted their request,” said Mr Bodo. KQ is pursuing an ambitious expansion strategy that has seen it acquire new planes and hire new pilots.
Kenyan planes have never been allowed into the US due to what is linked to low aviation standards and security threats.
The chairman of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Hillary Kioko said the country has spent $41 million in the last three years to improve standards.
Other local airlines are Fly540, Jetlink and African Express Airways.