, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – National carrier Kenya Airways has received the nod to increase to three, its weekly flights to Angola.
This follows the conclusion of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between the Kenya and Angola governments, which now paves the way for expansion of KQ operations into the Southern African country.
“The signing of the BASA between the two governments is in line with Kenya Airways’ growth strategy as it helps in ensuring expansion of the Luanda route,” explained Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni.
The BASA has taken several years to conclude and its absence had affected Kenya Airways efforts to start operations earlier than 2010 when it started operating two weekly flights.
With this development however, KQ is looking to consolidate its expanding African network. The airline is looking to tap into the opportunities that Africa which has positioned itself as the new frontier for growth presents.
“This will brings us closer to achieving our ambition of being the carrier of choice for Africa. Our plans to fly to every capital in Africa by 2013 and consolidate our route network on the continent are well on course,” added the CEO.
It is not only KQ that will benefit from the deal but local businessmen and the economy in general. This is because Angola is now the biggest oil producer in Africa and has positioned itself as a key economic and political player of Africa after 27 years of war that ravaged the expansive country.
It has managed to put its dark past behind and has been recording high growth rate driven by its oil revenues.
“Angola is attracting huge investments in mining both infrastructure and people. Furthermore being China’s largest oil exporter, coupled with Kenya Airways’ good connection to China, the route is ideal to serve the ever growing traffic between these two countries,” Mr Naikuni said of their growth prospects.
The BASA will allow Kenya Airways to operate its route schedule from Kenya to any points in Angola. It aims to use it as a launching pad to commence flight operations to South America in the next few years.
This is because the deal also has provision of operating to other foreign destinations using Angola as an intermediate point.
The pact will also allow for enhanced code share arrangements with Angolan airlines as well as other Kenya Airways’ partners with underlying traffic rights.
“For all-cargo operations, Kenya Airways will enter into co-operative arrangements with TAAG- Angolan airlines later in the year when KQ acquires its first freighter B747,” he explained.