NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 17 – National carrier Kenya Airways has pledged to help facilitate passengers traveling to Angola to obtain visas, following commencement of flights to Luanda.
Currently, there is no Angolan Embassy in Nairobi, and those wishing to fly to Angola have to obtain their visas from neighbouring Tanzania, which is accredited to serve Kenya.
Speaking while inaugurating the airline’s maiden flight to Angola, KQ Chief Executive Titus Naikuni said lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries was slowing down frequency of flights to Luanda.
“The potential in Angola is immense and the faster we create links, the faster we both countries benefit from deepened trade relations,” Mr Naikuni said.
As a developing country, Angola’s economy is being driven largely by its nascent oil and tourism industries.
“Angola is an important destination for the airline because of the rising economic importance as a trading partner for several African and European countries,” Mr Naikuni emphasised.
Flights to Angola form part of the airline’s strategic initiative to link up major African cities with the rest of the world. Of the 50 routes KQ flies to, 41 are in Africa.
Kenya Airways will operate the route on a code share agreement with Angolan Airways (TAAG) twice a week on Tuesday and Friday, but Mr Naikuni believes with time they will be able to increase the frequency.
“The future is daily flights sooner rather than later,” he said.
He said KQ would relentlessly peruse its growth objective this year by adding new routes to its network and improving efficiency.
The airline expects to acquire two long range Embraer 190LRs to serve on regional routes.
Mr Naikuni pointed out the urgent need to hasten the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) arguing it was becoming congested. This, he believes, was curtailing the airlines operations as it looks to compete with other international airlines.
“Expansion works are underway but we would like this to speed up because we are losing to competition in the North,” he said adding the airline would have liked to launch more routes but is restricted due to availability of space.