Nairobi — National carrier Kenya Airways PLC (KQ) Monday signed an aircraft lease agreement that will see Kenya Airways lease two Embraer E190 jets to Congo Airways
The cargo codeshare partnership with the Congo Airline is meant to boost domestic operations and flight frequencies in the Central African country.
KQ said it will offer courses through its Pride Centre and explore the exchange of technical personnel in various areas to ensure skills transfer between the two airlines.
"The partnership strengthens collaboration and bolsters aviation ties between Kenya and the DRC, actualizing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Kenya Airways and Congo Airways signed in April 2021 in Kinshasa and witnessed by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and DRC's President Felix Tshisekedi," the airline said in a statement.
KQ Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Allan Kilavuka said the partnership is among others, aimed at actualizing Pan Africanism by creating a model for cooperation between the two African Airlines.
"KQ is a key player in the aviation space in Africa, and with over 40 years of experience, this is an important step in enhancing cooperation to increase air connectivity and offer greater passenger and cargo options between the two countries. The timing of this agreement is correct, considering the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, as it will increase the utilization of our aircraft.," he said.
Congo Airways' Chief Executive Officer Pascal Kasongo Mwema Mwenda, on his part, noted that "increased air connectivity will offer more choices to passengers in the DRC and between the two countries. It will also provide better connectivity to international destinations, enabling both countries to fly to a better future and build a resilient aviation industry that can stand the test of time."
Kenya is seeking to leverage the DRC market by diversifying its export destinations, given the COVID 19 induced disruption, which has highlighted the need for deeper inter-regional trade.
Strengthened bilateral between the two countries will boost the National Carrier and Congo Airways passenger and cargo transport businesses between the two markets and the international network.
The International Air Transport Associations (IATA) estimates that African airlines saw a combined loss of USD 2 billion due to reduced passenger travel in 2020.