NAIROBI, October 14 – National carrier Kenya Airways has signed a Sh750 million agreement with communication company SITA where the airline will switch to VSAT technology to enhance its network capacity.
The airline’s Managing Director Titus Naikuni said the five-year deal will increase their network capacity by five fold and availability to 99.7 percent. VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is a low – cost technology for deploying satellite networks.
Mr Naikuni said the technology upgrade was part of the airline’s strategy to focus on developing the company’s human resource and systems in the next two years.
“Already we are rolling out a number of new IT applications in our business, and this network will provide more reliable connectivity to our staff spread in offices in Africa, Europe and Asia,” he said.
SITA Regional President Khodr Akil said VSAT networks are ideal for airlines operating in Africa where the alternative terrestrial links are less reliable and have regular outages.
“Much of the cable structure of the continent is old and susceptible to theft,” he added.
Mr Akil observed that the vast network will also enable the deployment of more applications and is expected that the airline will also use the network to carry voice traffic, a move which is expected to deliver significant cost saving s on telecommunications.
Currently SITA is deploying a similar size network for Air France and has already deployed VSAT networks for Air Tanzania and Air Madagascar.