, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – Kenya Airways has entered into a code-share agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines, a move that will strengthen the airline’s presence in the key Middle East market.
The deal, according to Kenya Airways Group Managing Director Titus Naikuni, is the first step by KQ in establishing a strong long term relationship with Saudi Arabian Airlines who will formally join the SkyTeam Alliance in May 2012.
The code-sharing arrangement will cover the Nairobi-Jeddah route along which Kenya Airways launched flights in October last year, targeting the growing passenger traffic between Kenya and Saudi Arabia. Most of the traffic is driven by cultural and religious events such as the annual Muslim pilgrimage.
“The code-sharing partnership will complement the two weekly flights by Saudi Arabian Airlines between Jeddah and Nairobi,” said Naikuni.
In aviation parlance, a code-share agreement is an arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased on one airline but is actually operated by a cooperating airline under a different flight number or code.
Kenya Airways currently operates flights to Jeddah twice a week; KQ330 from Nairobi to Jeddah and KQ331 from Jeddah to Nairobi. Under the code-sharing arrangement, these will also be marketed as SV6130 and SV6131 respectively and tickets issued by Kenya Airways will bear those flight codes.
Similarly, Saudi Arabian Airlines’ flights SV430 from Nairobi to Jeddah and SV431 from Jeddah to Nairobi will be marketed as KQ3600 and KQ3601 and tickets issued bearing those codes.
Saudi Arabian Airlines is the flag carrier airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is based in Jeddah.
It has a fleet of 139 aircrafts flying to over 90 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Besides increased traffic attributable to the annual Hajj pilgrimage, stronger bilateral trade links between Kenya and Saudi Arabia has seen more traders travel between the two countries.