Economy

Flights return signals freight costs cut

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Kenya Airways planes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The resumption of passenger flights signals a reduction on cost of freight charges resulting from additional capacity offering a relief to exporters who have had to content with high rates in the last four months.
  • Passenger airlines, which had been grounded since March, account for 40 percent of the total export freight in the country.
  • Freight charges have remained at a high of Sh321 a kilogramme from Sh197 in the same period in corresponding time last year.

The resumption of passenger flights signals a reduction on cost of freight charges resulting from additional capacity offering a relief to exporters who have had to content with high rates in the last four months.

Passenger airlines, which had been grounded since March, account for 40 percent of the total export freight in the country.

Freight charges have remained at a high of Sh321 a kilogramme from Sh197 in the same period in corresponding time last year.

Sanjeev Gadhia, the chief executive officer of Astral Aviation, a Nairobi-based cargo airline forecast a 20 percent cost cut.

“Passenger airlines carry up to 40 percent of the total cargo in the country. The increased capacity will see the freight charges come down,” said Mr Gadhia.

Exporters say the belly cargo that has been missing since the closure of the airspace in March, plays a significant role in supplementing the cargo flights, hence checking on the high cost.

Kenya horticulture industry suffered one of the worst moments in its history after a number of major carriers pulled out of Nairobi following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Passenger flights are a major component when it comes to cargo services for our horticultural produce. We expect to see a decline in freight charges,” said Ojepat Okisegere, chief executive officer Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya.

Mary Kinyua, director of marketing at Oserian- Kenya’s largest flower firm said they hope the airlines will offer the much needed relief to exporters.

“We are banking on the resumption of the passenger flights to lower the freight charges through the belly cargo,” said Ms Kinyua.