NAIROBI, September 9 – National carrier Kenya Airways will soon start direct flights to Congo Brazzaville.
This follows the signing of a bilateral air service agreement between Kenya and the Republic of Congo on Tuesday, which will provide easier market access for carriers from both states.
While signing the deal on behalf of the Kenyan government, Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said the agreement would open up a number of trade opportunities and also enhance economic relations between the two countries.
“If these business opportunities are exploited, it will increase trade volumes, thereby ensuring that commercial relations between Kenya and Congo are enhanced for the benefit of our two people,” the Minister said.
He enthused that the flights would present a vital alternative for the business community, tourists and other travellers transiting through Kenya and Congo, to other parts of the world.
This is the fourth bilateral air agreement that the Ministry has reviewed since July 2008.
Other pacts include those with Uganda, Yemen and Burkina Faso.
“These reviews and conclusions of new agreements are aimed at opening up opportunities and expanding the available route networks for our local operators,” Mwakwere added.
KQ currently serves 43 international and domestic routes in over 36 Africa countries.
Congolese Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Emile Ouosso re-affirmed that his country’s air space was safe.
Speaking through a translator, Ouosso said his country had been given the authority to control the air space in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Gabon.
He said they have met the minimum air safety standards as set out by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).
The Congolese government has in the last few years built five international airports.
KQ’s Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni disclosed that they would be flying three times a week and would increase the frequencies thereafter.
“It will depend on the demand that is created by the three frequencies,” said the CEO.
Asked where they had done a feasibility study to find out the viability of introducing direct flights to Brazzaville, Naikuni said the area had potential and it was safe.
“We are taking an aeroplane worth $20 million and we have therefore done our homework very well,” he asserted.