Kenya opens talks with neighbours to allow KQ flights


Transport and Infrastructure Secretary James Macharia. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya has opened talks with three neighbouring countries to allow Kenya Airways’ (KQ) #ticker:KQ flights into their countries in a standoff that has caused diplomatic tension with Nairobi.

Transport and Infrastructure Secretary James Macharia Wednesday said the talks, set to resolve all the outstanding issues between Kenya and three neighbouring nations in the East African airspace, are expected to end in the next three weeks.

Burundi declined the Bombardier DHC8-Q400 aircraft last month on the basis that they had no business class seats while South Sudan and Djibouti flatly declined the national carrier’s applications.

The Bombadier planes costs less to operate, hence preferred by KQ on short-haul flights.

“Negotiations between Kenya and three neighbouring nations is ongoing with a view to seeing KQ start flying those routes as soon as possible. We shall disclose full details on this matter once discussions are complete,” he said.

Mr Macharia was speaking on the sidelines of the 11th International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Service Negotiations Event (ICAN 2018) in Nairobi.

He said the negotiations will also see Kenya reach out to Namibia, in a move that could see KQ fly to the southern Africa state beginning January.

“We are also in talks with the Namibian government so that KQ can start flying to Windhoek in January. The discussions are almost complete,” he said.

Although Kenya Airways signed a new code-share agreement with Air Namibia way back in 2013 for direct flights, the deal is still in the freezer five years later.

The deal would have paved the way for direct flights between the airlines’ Nairobi and Windhoek hubs through Johannesburg in South Africa and Lusaka in Zambia.

The move would have extended the national carrier’s footprints in southern Africa region.