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Kenya eyes open skies in deal with eight countries

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A fleet of Kenya Airways planes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in this photo taken on July 15, 2020. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The Ministry of Transport has tabled bilateral air service agreements between Kenya and eight countries that will see national career Kenya Airways expand its routes network to new markets.

The Transport Ministry said Kenya had air agreements with the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Chile, Belize, Suriname, Austria, Tanzania and Barbados.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told Parliament the bilateral air services agreements will enable airlines to expand their existing route networks by directly operating scheduled services to other markets.

“Bilateral air services agreements between Kenya and the various countries are established to enable Kenyan air operators such as Kenya Airways to provide scheduled air services and expand their existing route networks,” Mr Macharia said in a report to Parliament.

“In addition, the agreements allow foreign careers to access the Kenyan market.”

He said where airlines are unable to offer services, the agreement allows them to enter into commercial arrangements such as codeshare agreements, which allow airlines to grow the demand in other markets by putting their code on other carriers thereby offering seamless connectivity to the travelling public.

Mr Macharia said the agreements were negotiated by a team comprising representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya Airways and other local operators.

“These are new agreements with exception of Tanzania, hence no Kenyan carrier operates on the routes. Similarly, no airlines are operating scheduled air services into the country from any of the subject States except Tanzania,” Mr Macharia said.

The ministry said Kenya Airways, Astral Aviation, Jambojet and Fly 540 operate flights to Tanzania.

“Similarly, Precision Air and Air Tanzania operate scheduled air services into Kenya,” Mr Macharia said.

The bilateral air services agreement between Kenya and the Czech Republic was negotiated and initialled on December 12, 2018, and provides for multiple designations of airlines, 14 frequencies, no restrictions on aircraft capacity and an open and liberal route schedule.

The Kenya-Cyprus air services agreement was negotiated on December 3, 2019, and provides for up to three airlines and seven frequencies. It has no restriction on aircraft capacity.

The agreement between Kenya and Chile was signed on December 10, 2018, in Nairobi.

It provides for multiple designations of airlines, unlimited frequencies, no restriction on aircraft capacity and an open and liberal route schedule.

Kenya and Belize signed the air service agreement on December 9, 2021, in Colombia and provides for stop-over traffic at any point of the route schedule provided that the stop-over time does not exceed 15 days at any point.

Kenya on December 8, 2021, signed an agreement with Suriname in Colombia which provides multiple designations of airlines and unlimited frequencies.

The Kenya-Tanzania BASA air services agreement was signed on November 24, 2016, that is aimed at enabling designated airlines of either State to operate scheduled services between the two countries.

The agreement provides for multiple designations of airlines, unlimited frequencies and capacity, codeshare services and a limited route schedule.

The Kenya-Austria agreement was negotiated and initialled on December 3, 2019, in Agaba, Jordan.

Mr Macharia said the agreement between Kenya and Barbados which was signed on October 6, 2021, had not been taken through the ratification process as required in the Treaty Making and Ratification Process Act, 2022.

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