Nairobi — Kenya Airways (KQ) has launched direct cargo flights between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This comes after the airline signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) with fly Congo Airways that would increase air connectivity and strengthen operations amid the effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on the aviation industry.
Previously, all traffic departing from Johannesburg had to pass through Nairobi.
"We are delighted to mark our newly launched direct cargo flights between South Africa & the DRC at a jointly hosted event in Johannesburg. Cargo has provided new opportunities in the face of the pandemic & we are keen to keep strengthening our operations & leverage partnerships," the firm said in a statement.
The announcement was made two weeks after KQ leased two Embraer E190 jets and crew to the Congo carrier in a move aimed at offering greater passenger and cargo options between the two countries.
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.