Kenya Airways begins direct flights to Blantyre
In August this year Kenya Airways commenced direct flights between its Nairobi hub and Blantyre, the commercial and industrial capital of Malawi.
The service, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, will connect the city that is home to the Malawi Stock Exchange and country headquarters of major companies, to the rest of the world, through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
The launch was presided over by Transport Cabinet Secretary, Engineer Michael Kamau. Speaking during the launch, Engineer Kamau noted that this is a milestone in the Kenya-Malawi relations.
“This flight provides an opportunity to deepen the cordial diplomatic relations that we have had since 1964 and enhance interaction between the two countries through trade, tourism and other economic activities,” the Cabinet Secretary added.
For his part, Kenya Airways’ Chief Operating Officer, Mbuvi Ngunze thanked the Government of Malawi for granting approvals for the airline to commence operations in Blantyre.
“We are opening up Africa for trade, holiday and investment. Connectivity with other parts of the world is a key enabler for economic development. This direct link between Blantyre and Nairobi will help spur sustainable development, which is one area that we aim to make a contribution to as an airline,” Mr Ngunze added.
Blantyre becomes the second Malawian city that Kenya Airways flies to, after Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital and its largest city.
KQ signs codeshare agreement with Air Namibia
Kenya Airways has boosted its footprint within the Southern Africa region with the signing of a new codeshare agreement with Air Namibia, the national carrier of Namibia. The deal paves the way for daily connections between the airlines’ Nairobi and Windhoek hubs through Johannesburg in South Africa and Lusaka in Zambia.
Under the codeshare agreement Kenya Airways will place its ‘KQ’ code on Air Namibia flights from Johannesburg and Lusaka to Windhoek. In turn, Air Namibia will place its ‘SW’ code on Kenya Airways flights from Lusaka and Johannesburg to Nairobi.
Kenya Airways Chief Operating Officer Mbuvi Ngunze and the Air Namibia Managing Director Ms Theopoltina Namases hailed this new partnership as a huge boost to improving connectivity within Africa.
This codeshare agreement with Air Namibia brings the number of such arrangements that Kenya Airways has signed with other international carriers to 20.
Ms Namases said: “The industry we operate in is highly competitive and dynamic. Only smart and efficient airlines will survive. Gone are the days of ‘I can do it alone’. As African airlines we need to realise that smart partnerships are the way forward, and the key to sustainability and survival.”
Namibia is one of the most stable democracies and economies in Africa, with a GDP per capita of US$7800. It currently benefits from investment projects in its mining industry, a key driver in the country’s economy.
KQ has introduced direct flights
from its Nairobi hub to Kigali in Rwanda and Bujumbura in Burundi as it consolidates its presence in the East African market.
The twice-daily direct flights, in the morning and evening, to each of the two East African cities are in addition to the existing round flight from Nairobi, passing through Kigali and Bujumbura and back every day.
Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said that the new service aims at enhancing convenient travel and trade between East African countries following the implementation of the common market protocol that paved the way for free movement of people, goods and services within the region.
“These twice-a-day direct flights from Nairobi to Kigali and Bujumbura tie in with our plans to fly to every African capital by 2016 as we seek to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa,” Dr Naikuni added.
As well as these routes within East Africa, Kenya Airways also flies to Dar es Salaam, Entebbe and Kilimanjaro.
KQ joins the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign The campaign aims at ending elephant poaching and ivory trafficking through Kenya, as well as eliminating demand for the commodity around the world. It is spearheaded by Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, and has been put together by WildlifeDirect, a wildlife conservation charity. Kenya Airways’ CEO Dr Titus Naikuni said that conservation of elephants and other wildlife, is the responsibility of all Kenyan individuals, companies and government agencies. “Elephants are part of our environment; therefore poaching them harms our country and national heritage. Mother Nature is very unforgiving when we change the balance in the environment. This is the reason we decided to get involved. As Kenya Airways, we do not condone poaching or delivery of poached ivory on our flights, and this message has been passed to our staff and passengers. Any of our staff found involved with or abetting poaching will face the consequences,” Dr Naikuni added during a press briefing held in Nairobi. Speaking during the briefing, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu said that the government is stepping up anti-poaching efforts by deploying modern technology and modernisation of the Kenya Wildlife Service; in addition to establishing a Canine Unit to detect movements of illegal ivory at Kenya’s international airports in Nairobi and Mombasa. “The government has also directed that all poaching cases be prosecuted as economic crimes, and has introduced higher fines of over Ksh1 million and sentences of over five years. Once the new Wildlife Bill is enacted, these penalties and sentences will be enhanced to make them punitive and discourage poaching and ivory traffickers,” Prof Wakhungu added. Tourism is one of the biggest sectors in the economic pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the plan is to grow tourist numbers from the current 2 million to 3 million by the year 2017. Elephants play a major role in attracting tourists.