DALLAS – African aviation has achieved a significant milestone this week, as Emirates Airlines (EK), along with Kenya Airways (KQ), have signed a new interline agreement, enhancing passenger connectivity between the African continent and the rest of the world.
Kenya Airways, based at Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), is one of the most significant carriers in the region and operates an extensive network in Southeastern Africa across 34 countries. Now, with the agreement with EK, the airline can offer flights from Nairobi to Dubai (DXB), sharing connecting itineraries to the other five continents in the world.
On the other hand, EK can now take advantage of the significant presence of KQ in Africa to establish itself as one of the leading players bringing travelers to the continent. It also helps the airline ramp up the market competition with Ethiopian Airlines (ET).
Adnan Kazim, CCO at Emirates, said, “Kenya is a strategic gateway in our Africa network, and this new interline agreement will enhance connectivity for Emirates’ customers and provide them more travel choices across the continent. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Kenya Airways, offering greater network opportunities, and improving connections for both of our customers.”
Julius Thairu, Chief Commercial and Customer Officer Kenya Airways added, “This partnership will provide the ideal gateway for our customers as we seek to increase our connectivity between Africa and the Middle East through Emirates’ hub in Dubai. Partnerships like these are key in aviation as they take advantage of mutual scale and efficiencies to provide customers with more seamless travel options.”
Kenya Airways’ Up-to-date Route Network
Kenya Airways currently flies to three domestic and 40 international destinations in neighboring African countries, Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2022, a total of 3.7 million passengers flew on board the airline passing through its valuable centric hub in Nairobi.
The countries with the most considerable amount of operations today by KQ are neighboring Tanzania, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with regular direct scheduled flights from the capital. However, the African carrier also flies many intercontinental routes, including Nairobi to New York (JFK), Paris (CDG), Amsterdam (AMS), Dubai (DXB), and Guangzhou (CAN).
KQ flies a consolidated fleet of 35 narrow and widebody aircraft, including 9 Boeing 787-8s, 14 Embraer E-190 aircraft, and 12 Boeing 737 family jets across three different variants to support these operations.
Africa’s Aviation Numbers
Despite the demographic and economic differences with the rest of the world’s continents, Africa is slowly gaining positions and is becoming another aviation superpower. Significant investments from foreign entities in infrastructure and resources are boosting the economic motor of the region.
Due to these factors, travel demand to the African continent is increasing even after the harsh effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many countries. Cairo International Airport (CAI), the largest by traffic, saw more than 20 million passengers pass through its gates in 2022.
Various airlines are currently playing in the African domestic market and international connectivity in the region. EgyptAir (MS), Royal Air Maroc (AT), Kenya Airways (KQ), South African Airways (SA), and Ethiopian Airlines (ET) are some of the most influential airlines in Africa at the moment.
Featured image: Brandon Siska/Airways.