Shipping & Logistics

Top plane-makers in city for business air travel talks

JKIA in Nairobi. Kenya aircraft imports rebounded 57 per cent in nine months to September. FILE PHOTO | NMG
JKIA in Nairobi. Kenya aircraft imports rebounded 57 per cent in nine months to September. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Major plane manufacturers converge in Nairobi on Wednesday to showcase products as they seek to clinch market, coming at a time the country has witnessed a surge in purchases.

Airbus, Embraer and Dassault Falcon will take part in the two-day workshop that starts on Wednesday to display the potential of the expanding business air travel sector and a wealth of design in manufacturing of executive jets.

They will also discuss financing options for buyers of aircraft and helicopters, buying and leasing steps, and IATA safety standards as they aim to tap into the growing potential of Kenyans to acquire aircraft.

‘‘Kenyans nowadays regularly charter jets and airplanes to go to remote places where their operations are and these includes investors in oil and gas and infrastructure developers. There are also special users like medical airplanes,’’ said Gilbert Kibe, the director general of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the organiser of the conference. It is partnering with Purple Lotus International.

‘‘A lot of business travellers nowadays value speed, time, convenience and prefer to use their own or chartered helicopters or jets because they are faster and can easily go to secondary airports,’’ he added.

Kenya aircraft imports rebounded 57 per cent in nine months to September aided by a tax waiver in an election year that saw politicians take the battle for votes to the skies.

Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows aircraft and associated equipment imports increased by Sh3.7 billion to Sh10.1 billion in the year to September from Sh6.4 billion recorded in the previous year. Mr Kibe pointed out that aviation industry is fast-growing globally and focus is now shifting to Africa owing to its potential.

The conference is particularly timely as Kenya is positioning itself as an aviation and aircraft refuelling hub due to its strategic location.

Money Aviation Ltd of South Africa, Aircraft Finance Corporation, and Penial Air among others will also take part in the talks.