Kenya seeks stronger ties with Abu Dhabi following launch of KQ flights


(Posted 11th July 2013)

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, while in Abu Dhabi last week to represent the Kenyan government at the formal launch celebrations of KQ’s flights to the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, wasted no time to promote increased trade, commerce and tourism between the two countries. Eng. Michael Kamau was quoted to have said during the celebration dinner in Abu Dhabi: ‘We are currently at an advanced stage of modernising and expanding the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which will significantly boost the capacity to handle more travellers. As you know the airport is already a regional hub through which Kenya Airways is able to connect the world to Africa and vice versa. As part of the Vision 2030, we are also constructing the Green Field terminal, a new state-of-the-art terminal which will be delinked from the current Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and will be built from scratch. When complete, the new terminal will be the largest single terminal in Africa built on four levels and will be able to handle up to 20 million passengers, annually’. He then added that following the signing of the codeshare agreement between national carriers Kenya Airways and Etihad Airways, the new air links will not only favour Kenyan businessmen sourcing for goods in the UAE, but also open doors for tourists from the UAE and in particular from Abu Dhabi wishing to travel to Kenya and the rest of the continent through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The UAE is one of the favourite expatriate work countries for many Kenyans, making careers in the hospitality and aviation industry besides being well known for being one of the most favoured shopping destinations for Kenyans with the means to travel.

Dr. Titus Naikuni, who was also present on the occasion, in turn was quoted: ‘The inaugural Kenya Airways flight to Abu Dhabi, marks the culmination of three years of multilateral discussions and negotiations, to have Kenya Airways and Etihad Airways work together towards the opening of this strategic route. The Abu Dhabi International Airport is a gateway to the Far East and countries such as Australia which Etihad flies to. We aim to provide the much needed link to customers who intend to travel to African countries through this code share agreement. That’s why this calls for a celebration’. Kenya Airways’ plans to connect all African commercial and political capital cities with Nairobi over the next years makes the airline an ideal partner for Etihad Airways, which will be able to reach the entire continent through code shared flights, well beyond the destinations they are flying to directly at present. Etihad Airways is currently serving the Abu Dhabi – Nairobi route daily with an Airbus A320 and Kenya Airways is now adding three flights using a B737-800NG for the service.

A source close to Kenya Airways indicated that once demand for travel on the route rises, KQ will progressively add more flights to eventually offer daily flights, all codeshared with Etihad. That would bring the route to the desired double daily flights, offering passengers a range of onward destinations in the Americas, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle and Far East and as far as Australia. Kenya Airways already flies 10 times a week between Nairobi and Dubai and Abu Dhabi is now the second destination within the UAE. Watch this space for regular and breaking aviation news from across Eastern Africa.