Fresh produce traders from Mombasa County are set to benefit following a deal with national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), to be exporting their fish to various destinations directly from the coastal city.
The airline has started with ferrying the fish to Sharjah International Airport in UAE, where it will be running one weekly flight, as it hopes to increase frequencies and destinations as demand picks up.
In the agreement between KQ, Mombasa County Government and stakeholders in the fresh produce sector, the traders will gain from faster sale of their products and expand their trade to the outside market.
"The average load of fresh seafood per flight is about 18.75 tonnes," the airline said in a statement Thursday.
The deal comes four months after the fresh produce sector appealed to KQ to provide it with four cargo planes for purposes of ferrying their goods to the outside markets, when the airline resumed international flights on August 1, after a months-long grounding due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, the airline says the move is part of its strategy to grow its cargo business, which has been performing below 10 per cent, as well as meeting demands for its cargo customers.
"KQ Cargo will work closely with fish and seafood farmers to maximise on the same-day perishables supply chain to cater for the consumers in the Middle East region," said KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka.
Mombasa County welcomed the deal, saying it will promote the fish industry, which many businesses in the region depend on.
"During this time when the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated many businesses, air cargo is very important to support them back to normalcy. It will be vital for economic recovery," Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said.
KQ Cargo fleet has operated some 700 cargo-only flights in the past six months, which ferry different types of products, mostly fresh fruits, vegetables and goat meat.