China Southern Airlines adds Nairobi to airline network

aviationtanzania-JoshuaDavisPhotography-flickrChina Southern Airlines has embarked on its maiden flight to Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), and has commenced direct flights from Guangzhou to Nairobi

Overall, air traffic on the Nairobi-Guangzhou route has been rising, mainly due to business and tourism. The carrier will offer three flights per week using the Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a capacity of 300 passengers.

Nairobi is the second African destination after Mauritius where China Southern Airlines flies to directly.

Kenya’s tourism cabinet secretary Phyllis Kandie said, “Direct flights will boost trade and tourism between the two countries. China is a key trading partner with Kenya and has invested heavily in infrastructure and energy.”

Currently, there are several Chinese companies that are undertaking various projects in Kenya. They are involved in the construction of three berths at Lamu Port worth US$480mn. Some others are currently constructing the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Rail Gauge with others involved in power sectors.

In addition to infrastructure, companies in sectors such as telecom (Huawei), construction (Qingjian International) and finance (Bank of China) have also established bases in Nairobi.

Aside from the above, tourism is a major draw for Chinese tourists, who frequently visit Kenya’s national and game reserves such as Maasai Mara. Increasingly, Kenyans trading in textiles and construction materials have been sourcing from Chinese cities.

Mwangi Mumero

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