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Kenya’s cargo industry increases load

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – Kenya’s air cargo industry is set to expand with the introduction of British Airways World Cargo’s new freighter flight to Nairobi.

Speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, the group’s Area Commercial Manager for East Africa Michael Muriithi said the new service will increase the Kenyan market’s cargo capacity by 30 percent.

“For our customers our mainline is already maxed out, so there is a demand for us to increase our capacity. Out of East Africa on average we move 250 tonnes a week,” he said.

The new weekly freighter service that is co-shared with Johannesburg and Nairobi is British Airways cargo’s most expensive investment in the region and slotted to begin next month.

The airline’s recent merger with Spanish carrier Iberia, now known as the International Airlines Group (IAG) has expanded its network offering markets in Southern Europe and Latin America.

“The introduction of the freighter presents the first service ever in the Spanish market which will give Kenyan exporters an opportunity to compete with their South African counterparts in servicing this crucial fresh fish market,” said Murithii.

Since the merger, IAG’s volumes are up 8.3 percent for the first half of the year compared to last year’s numbers in the same period, while its yield as a group has increased by seven percent and capacity boosted by eight percent.

Regional Commercial Manager for Africa Mark Stubbings said however that the second half has seen a slump in numbers due to the Chinese export market and the European austerity measures.

With world trade hardly seeing expansion this year, air freight markets continue to stay stagnated.

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According to the financial forecast from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the month of September, it is unlikely air freight will recover for the second half of 2011 with signs of improvement to be seen in 2012.

However, the decline in air freight volumes has been most prominent in larger markets such as North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe, while operators in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East remained positive.

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