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Kenya luring major airlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27- The government has embarked on negotiations for Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with leading economies to encourage direct flights to Nairobi.

Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said on Tuesday that these negotiations had seen major airlines enter deals to start flying directly to Nairobi in an arrangement that will drastically boost trade and tourism for Kenya.

“In order to continue attracting more investors in the aviation industry the government, through my ministry will continue to negotiate for Bilateral Air Service Agreements with other countries in the world.  Already, the negotiated and concluded BASAs have enabled major carriers, local and international to operate many routes regionally and internationally,” said Mr Mwakwere.

The Minister said the fact that most airlines were flocking to the country was a vote of confidence in the Kenyan economy despite the global economic crisis.

He added that the modernisation process of major airports is still on course under the Kenya Aviation Modernisation Programme (KAMP) and so was the installation of the Global Navigation Satellite System procedure for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport Mombasa.

These projects, he said, were aimed at ensuring safety and efficiency of aircraft movements in the country’s airspace.

Mr Mwakwere spoke during the launch of the first ever executive jet in Kenya, which is designed specifically for customers in the corporate superlight business jet segment.

The ExecuJet Aviation Group Managing Director for Sales and Acquisition, Andrew Hoy said that they will operate the Learjet 45XR which will be operated locally by Phoenix Aviation Company and will target high end corporate clients.

“The jet has a capacity of carrying eight passengers all treated to business class executive service. It will also have a WiFi internet service on board among other executive trappings,” Mr Hoy explained.

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The service, he added aims at reducing the man-hours lost in aircraft bookings, flight cancellations and delays.

With the launch of the service in Nairobi, he revealed that they intend to use Kenya as a regional connection hub for East and Central Africa after their successful stint in Southern Africa.

The Executive Aviation Group is leading global business aviation a diverse range of services including pre-owned and new aircraft sales, management, charter and maintenance.

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