Kenya Airways targets Asia markets with Africa’s first direct flight to Vietnam


Kenya Airways' Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at JKIA, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE |

Kenya Airways is set to launch Africa’s first direct flights to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, in March.

The carrier is seeking to cash in on the growing trade between Vietnam and African markets.

The airline, whose closest rivals on the continent are Ethiopian and South African Airways, will fly to Hanoi three times a week.

Kenya Airways will work in partnership with Skyteam partner Vietnam Airlines in Hanoi to provide travel options to those flying to Japan, Malaysia, Korea and China.

The flights to Hanoi are expected to provide strong connections and increase trade between key markets in Africa, Vietnam and the larger Asian market.

“The potential of Vietnam as a country with strong economic growth and a growing middle class is significant. Vietnam has shown a considerable and stable economic growth over the recent years, including an increase in trade with Africa,” said Mbuvi Ngunze Kenya Airways CEO.

“As the first airline to directly connect Vietnam to Africa, we are sure to leverage on this growth. Together with our SkyTeam partner Vietnam Airlines, we are very confident the addition of Hanoi to our network will be a success,” Mr Ngunze said.

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

In 2013, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that Hanoi would be fastest growing city in the world in GDP terms from 2008 to 2025.

The introduction of six B787 Dreamliners, three next generation B737-800 and three 777-300ER aircraft for commercial service, has made it possible for the national carrier to explore new routes at an economical price.

READ: New aircraft budget weighs heavily on Kenya Airways

The aircrafts were mostly deployed on routes to Asia and Europe. The national carrier has direct flights to Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Guangzhou, destinations that serve as connection points to cities in Asia and the Far East.

Three additional Dreamliners are expected in 2015, a pointer that additional destinations will be launched within the course of the year.