NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16- Kenya Airways has launched its expanded Southern Africa operations that will see the airline fly cargo directly from Johannesburg to other countries in the region.
Currently all connections are done through its hub in Nairobi and going forward all cargo from Southern Africa will be delivered directly, resulting in shorter connecting times and speed to market, one of the unique selling propositions to its customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had tremendous impact on the global aviation sector with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasting a net loss of $118 million in 2020, in what has been declared the worst year in aviation history.
The pandemic has not only challenged the Air Cargo sector, that accounts for approximately 35 percent of global trade by value, but also shown the resilience of the cargo community that has quickly adapted to the rapidly evolving situation.
“Even as the movement of people across the globe became increasingly restricted, one thing remained unchanged, the need to keep the much-needed supplies and other goods moving in order to sustain economies and to help fight the pandemic. This has reaffirmed the importance of our cargo operations and the significance of air travel in spurring trade and supporting economic growth even during tough times. South Africa is the largest intra-Africa exporting nation which was part of the fundamental opportunity principles driving the project,” said Allan Kilavuka – Group Managing Director & CEO, Kenya Airways.
The expanded cargo operations will be one of the key instruments KQ Cargo will deploy to promote swift connectivity in the southern region countries that include Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.
The airline will continue to provide one weekly schedule to Lusaka, Maputo, Lilongwe, Harare, and will step up frequencies as demand picks up.
“It is key to reconsider how Africa’s airfreight market is positioned in order to maximise its full potential. Governments should leave behind protectionist approaches to regulating aviation and embrace liberalisation, because when such policies are adopted, countries benefit from improved connectivity with a positive impact on trade. We strongly believe in Africa’s aviation potential, and we are ready to offer a solid and long-term partnership,” said Dick Murianki – General Manager, KQ Cargo.
Intra-Africa Connectivity remains at the centre of the KQ Cargo agenda with intra-Africa airfreight volumes averaging about 5% of total exports from Africa, which is way below other continents that average well over 30%.
A well interconnected Africa will catalyze trade and Kenya Airways will play its part diligently in connecting the world to Africa and Africa to the world.
“The expansion of KQ cargo freight to more Southern Africa countries will boost intra-African trade as well as enhance connectivity in the southern region. Similarly, I wish to challenge KQ to venture into cargo business with countries in the regions that KQ has no footprints such as Eswatini and this will go a long way in increasing volume of cargo as well facilitate the generation of more income,” added Ambassador Jean Kamau High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya to South Africa.