East African states work to reduce regional air travel costs

Plans are underway to reduce air travel charges in East Africa to ease the free movement of people, goods and services.

The process includes the harmonisation of air travel policies of each partner state, examination of the factors that determine air ticket costs and development of uniform air travel regulations.

A meeting of Transport and Communication ministers from the EAC partner states chaired by Kenya has since issued a directive to the East African Community secretariat to initiate the process.

“It was proposed that the EAC Secretariat convenes the meeting in consultation with the hosting Partner States and the outcomes of the Forum be channelled to EAC policy organs through the Sub-committee on Air Transport,” said Wavinya Ndeti, Kenya’s chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, adding, “On Liberalisation of Air Transport in the EAC, the regulations have been developed and the process of finalising these regulations is ongoing.”

The 17th sectoral council of EAC on Transport, Communications and Meteorology, chaired by Kenya’s CAS Ms Ndeti also directed partner states through the EAC Secretariat to review and harmonise charging mechanisms, fees and taxes to reduce ticket costs and increase demand for air travel.

“We are aware of the directive and the transport and communications ministers are due for another meeting probably before the end of the year to provide the policy framework under which the changes would take place,” said Peter Mathuki, EAC Secretary General.

EAC has one of the most expensive flight routes in the world per seat costs led by the Nairobi to Entebbe, Nairobi to Kigali and Nairobi to Dar es Salaam routes.

Air transport in East Africa in general is expensive by international standards going by the current high passenger airfares and freight charges. The expensive rates on both passenger and cargo flights contribute to the high cost of doing business in the region.

A passenger airline ticket between Entebbe and Nairobi costs $380 on average while that between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam is between $350 and $400 for economy class.

It is estimated that 43 per cent of air ticket prices in EAC comprise of regulatory charges and taxes, landing and parking rates, with regulatory fees accounting for up to 24 per cent.

“When you look at the breakdown of an airline ticket from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, most of the charges are just government tariffs. If all those are removed, it will reduce the fares and ease free movement of goods and services,” said Dr Mathuki, adding, “It could be cheaper to travel within East Africa. In fact it could be less than $100 if the EA partner states removed all those tariffs.”

The EAC Secretariat has written to regional airlines requesting them to submit the list of all air ticket charges for review and harmonisation. The proposed harmonisation will result in reduction of air fares within the regional routes.

“Yes, the EAC has written to us. They want to know the taxes and the tax regimes of different airlines whenever they travel to different countries,” said Allan Kilavuka, CEO, Kenya Airways.

“The big question is for EAC government to interrogate the tax regime in order to harmonise travel fares. It is imperative to note that KQ taxes that are paid are different from Uganda airlines or any other airline, when they are in their country of origin,” he added.

A study by the East African Business Council titled Costs and Benefits of Open Skies in the East African Community, released on August 3, said that harmonisation of air travel could lead to a reduction in air fares by nine per cent; and a 41 percent increase in frequencies which would stimulate demand.

“Research has repeatedly found that liberalisation has led to increased traffic volumes, greater connectivity and choice and lower fares,” said John Bosco Kalisa, CEO of the EABC.

“Furthermore, the benefits of air service liberalisation extend well beyond the aviation industry, it contributes to greater trade and tourism, inward investment, productivity growth, increased employment and economic development,” he added.

The study established that liberalisation between Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda could result in an additional 46,320 jobs and $202.1 million per annum in GDP.

Indeed, the high cost of air transport in the region is attributed to the slow pace of liberalisation.

Source: The East African

British Airways resumes direct flights to Nairobi despite ‘red list’

The British Airways has resumed direct flights between Nairobi and London despite Kenya remaining on the United Kingdom’s travel red list.

The Kenyan government termed political the move by the UK to keep it on the red list due to a spike in coronavirus infections.

For Kenya, remaining stuck on the red list in the latest update to international travel by Britain has dealt a huge blow to tourism, which was banking on a lifting of the restrictions for a boost. Still, the resumption of the flights brings good tidings to the industry.

In a statement, British Airways said its first passenger flight between Nairobi and London was on Sunday.

‘Reuniting families’

“We are honoured to be playing our part in reuniting families and friends with their loved ones after such a long time apart. The safety of our customers and colleagues has always been at the heart of everything we do. We know some customers won’t have flown for a long time, we can assure them we have a range of Covid-19 measures in place to provide stress and hassle-free travel,” said Senior Vice President Middle East and Africa Airport Operations Sohail Ali.

The airline, which will be operating two flights on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) said it has also introduced a number of measures at the airport and on-board to ensure the safety of its customers and crew.

“These include social distancing measures, the wearing of face masks and hand sanitiser stations. Customers will also receive details of how they can prepare for their journey, including information on discounted testing providers. To help customers navigate the changing entry requirement and facilitate a seamless journey, they can download the VeriFLY app before departing to London,” the statement read.

The airline said the digital health app allows customers to combine their travel verification documents and Covid-19 test results in one place and confirm their eligibility with a few simple steps. Anyone travelling into the UK from a red list country must be a British or Irish national, or have residence rights. They must be Covid-19 negative before travelling. Additionally, they must quarantine at appointed hotels at their own cost.

The Kenyan government and tourism stakeholders have complained about the red list, which is hurting its tourism and sabotaging the economy. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala termed the move political, and wondered why India had been removed from the red list.

“The traffic light Covid-19 protocols are now political because you cannot compare infection rates and the number of deaths in Kenya with that of the UK, it is incomprehensible. These are political statements. The delta variant came from India, how come India has been removed from the red list?” Mr Balala posed.

The CS said countries sanctioning their citizens to travel within their states is meant to boost local tourism and build economies. However, he said Africa has an opportunity to tap into its 1.3 billion population and urged its states to invest in intra-continental tourism.

Invested heavily

“Why can’t we open up the continent to Africans? This is the agenda [for] which we are here in Cape Verde as the council of ministers. Without creating a new segment and diversifying our source market, we would be subservient to the source market and it would be used politically against us,” he added.

He assured international tourists that Kenya has invested heavily in vaccination to keep both its citizens and visitors safe. The CS blamed the global hoarding of vaccines for the insufficient doses in Kenya.

“That’s why we do not receive an equivalent share of the vaccine. Africa wants to vaccinate its people but we don’t have enough vaccines. Production of vaccines is from the advanced world or the source markets where they come from,” he added.

Kenya is a popular tourism destination for Britons. The UK has been a top tourism source market for Kenya. In 2019, it emerged fourth in the ranking, with 181,484 tourists visiting the country. The UK last week made some changes on the countries in red, amber, and green lists, with Kenya remaining on the red list, eight months since it was first placed there. Mr said Kenya is not out of the woods yet.

“We will return to normality in two years. 2024 is the time tourism will go back to normal. Health is going to be the first agenda on everyone’s mind when travelling, so we need to vaccinate our people so that travellers can feel Kenya is safe,” he said during an interview with a local TV station. The CS urged Africans to improve infrastructure and connectivity on the continent to boost intra-African tourism.

‘Major achievement’

“It will be a major achievement,” he said. The tourism sector depends on summer travel from Europe and America, between June and September. There were high hopes in the industry that Kenya would be upgraded from red to amber on the back of a recent visit by President Kenyatta to the UK.

Failure to upgrade Kenya to the amber list will see Britons keep off the country to avoid being slapped with a huge bill on return, because all citizens returning from red list countries are required to isolate for 10 days in a hotel at a cost of £2,285 (Sh347,320). The tourism industry lost Sh80 billion in the first six months of last year as the country grappled with the effects of Covid-19, which saw countries close their airspaces.

Hotelier Mohammed Hersi and Kenya Coast Tourists Association (KCTA) Chairperson Victor Shitakha also lamented over the red list. They urged the government to prioritise the sector whose international numbers have slumped due to the pandemic.

“Our government should push the UK to remove us from the red list like India,” said Mr Hersi, during an interview with a local TV station.

This comes as Mombasa County continues to market the city to attract more international and regional tourists.

The county’s Department of Tourism has been conducting massive campaigns to lure tourists to the destination, which has seen it sign a tourism partnership with the Ukrainian government.

“We had a very interactive and insightful engagement with tour operators and travel agents in Odessa, where we had an opportunity to pitch on the different tourism products, trade, and investment opportunities in Mombasa. We also impressed upon them on the need to increase the number of charter flights flying directly into the coastal city of Mombasa,” said Governor Hassan Joho on his Facebook page.

Source: Nation

Airline Startup Of The Week: Zambia Airlines

Southern Africa is all set to receive its newest carrier: Zambia Airlines. The new flag carrier of its home country will begin operating flights from 30th September, starting with domestic and regional routes. The carrier is backed by Ethiopian Airlines, which took a 45% stake in the startup airline in 2018.


According to ch-aviation, Zambia Airlines has announced the date of its first flight. The startup carrier will kick off flights on 30th September, said the airline’s board this week. The airline has been in the works since late 2018 but has been delayed due to regulatory hurdles and later, the pandemic.

However, three years later, Zambia Airlines is ready to get off the ground. The carrier is owned by the state-backed Industrial Development Corporation (55%) and Ethiopian Airlines (45%). The pair have invested $30 million in capital to prepare the carrier for operations. Ethiopian is a major backer, providing the leased fleet and training dozens of pilots and crew for operations.

25 cabin crew and five pilots have been trained and type-rated at Ethiopian Aviation Academy. Zambia Airlines will begin operations with a fleet of three aircraft, consisting of two DHC Dash-8-Q400s and one Boeing 737-800.


Zambia Airlines is targeting the domestic and Southen African market upon its launch. The two turboprop Q400s will serve domestic routes from Lusaka to Livingstone, Ndola, and Solwezi. Meanwhile, the 737 will be deployed on flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, and Harare, Zimbabwe.

However, ZN will not be without competition. Two other airlines operate a similar domestic network as the newcomer, Mahogany Air and Proflight Zambia. While both these airlines operate smaller aircraft, they will pose a challenge in the short term. However, as ZN grows, it is likely to secure a larger market share.

Ethiopian Airlines has no shortage of turboprops and narrowbodies. The carrier flies four 737-700s and 16 -800s, a quarter of which are sitting inactive currently. The airline also has 21 Q400s, with three more scheduled for delivery. If ZN sees strong demand, it could even order its own fleet for the future.


Zambia has not had a flag carrier since 2009, when the erstwhile Zambian Airways (not to be confused with the historic Zambia Airways) went bankrupt. Since then, the aviation market has seen three startup airlines that have met some of the demand. However, there is space for a major carrier to boost capacity on domestic and international routes.

As Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian has been eager to invest in new airlines and grow its influence. As neighboring South African struggles with bankruptcy, Ethiopian has been setting up and buying stakes in several airlines in recent years. The coming months will tell us more about Zambia Airlines and if it will be a success.

Source: Simple Flying

Ethiopian Unveils My Sheba Space

Ethiopian Airlines Group, the largest aviation group in Africa, has unveiled a new digital option dubbed My Sheba Space that enables economy class travelers to purchase one or more empty seats on board to get extra space and relax. 

Ethiopian has responded to COVID 19 pandemic by introducing passenger safety guidelines implementing social distancing and sanitization measures in its ultra-modern Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and within the aircraft. Reducing aircraft capacity and introduction of end to end passenger journey are among the initiatives Ethiopian has taken in its continued pursuit for elevated customer experience. 

Remarking on MyShebaSpace, Ethiopian Group CEO, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said, “With our agility in customer centric service offering and market responsiveness comes the need to provide convenience to those who need it. MyShebaSpace is introduced to allow esteemed clients who prefer to secure extra space and enjoy comfort while in economy class cabin. Whatever we do to make people comfortable flying again is a manifestation of our desire to stay up, to offer better and be at the fore. We believe that our customers will enjoy the feeling of being in control of their journey.” 

With bundled on-demand services and predictive intelligence, MyShebaSpace will offer extra space with a reasonable top up starting from $30. MyShebaSpace is not just about letting passengers pay extra to guarantee an empty seat next to them, it is about the airlines unwavering commitment to offer diversified options in line with changing customers’ demand. 

MyShebaSpace requires a 72-hour window before flight time to secure extra seat and is accessible on Ethiopian website and mobile app for convenience. 

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seventy-five years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success. Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the Pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 130 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents.

Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with Seven business units: Ethiopian International Services; Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services; Ethiopian MRO Services; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian ADD Hub Ground Services, Ethiopian Airports Services and Ethiopian Express Services (Domestic). Ethiopian is a multi-award-winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.

Source: FTN News

UAE’s airspace to get busier as commercial flights bypass Afghan overland routes

The UAE’s air space should turn busy with more commercial flights using it after the skies over Afghanistan have become no-go zones for airlines.

Air India, British Airways, KLM, and Singapore Airlines are rerouting overland flights from Afghanistan, according to Flightradar24. Several flights are now going through Pakistan and Iran, satellite data shows.

UAE’s airspace will also get busier as airlines – especially those that fly passengers from Asia to Europe and North America – work their way around Afghanistan.

“Iranian and other airspace will be busier than normal, with the diverting aircraft in the airspace,” said Andrew Charlton, an aviation analyst. “That will also add to the workload of air traffic control agencies affected – but I am sure that they can handle the pressure.”

As of October 2020, the number of aircraft flying through UAE’s airspace had risen to 1,000 a day.

Longer journeys

“When airlines have to divert around closed airspace, by definition it means that the aircraft are taking longer routes to get to their destination, which costs more in fuel and of course time,” said Charlton. “That will impact those airlines that are most using the airspace, which at the moment would include the Gulf carriers.

“Traditionally, it would also have affected carriers from Asia to Europe. But that is not such a big deal now and most airlines can afford the diversion in any event.”

Rising risks

Airlines and governments are now paying more attention to the risks of flying over conflict zones after two recent deadly incidents involving surface-to-air missiles. A Malaysia Airlines plane was downed over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board. And a Ukraine International Airlines jet was shot down by Iran’s military last year, killing all 176 passengers and crew.

Oil factor

“There will be an impact on airline operations to places, including India and Pakistan, due to airspace closures,” said John Strickland of JLS Consulting. “This will add to journey time and hence increased fuel burn on some markets. But it is essential to maintain confidence.”

Higher oil prices – up roughly 55 per cent in the last 12 months – are hitting airline margins and may make it harder for the aviation industry to recover from its current crisis.

Source: Gulf News

Karanja Ndegwa confirmed as Jambojet CEO

The Board of Directors of Jambojet on Thursday confirmed Karanja Ndegwa as the airline’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director effective September 2.

Ndegwa has been serving the airline in an acting capacity since April 2020 when took over from Allan Kilavuka, who was appointed the Kenya Airways Plc Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Kilavuka continued serving on the Board of Jambojet as a Non-Executive Director.

Ndegwa was previously the Chief Financial Officer of Jambojet.

Jambojet Board of Directors chairman Vincent Rague in a statement expressed confidence in Ndengwa’s new role in the airline.

“Since taking over as acting Managing Director, Ndegwa has successfully steered the business, ensuring stability, continuity and growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has significantly affected the Aviation Industry. Through his leadership, we are confident that he is best suited to take the airline to the next level in terms of growth and sustainability,” Rague said on Thursday.

Karanja Ndegwa is a graduate of Economics and Statistics from the University of Nairobi as well as a Certified Public Accountant.

He has experience in financial planning and reporting, airline business/commercial strategy, capacity building, strategic management and revenue management.

He has spent over 20 years in various leadership roles within the Airline Industry.

Prior to joining Jambojet in 2014, he worked at Kenya Airways in different capacities, rising to the position of Manager – Revenue Accounting.

He served as the Head of Finance at Jambojet, before being appointed the Chief Financial Officer of the airline in 2016.

Source: The Star

Fly 748 Air Services launches its office in Mombasa, gears up for Malindi route

Aviation company 748 Air Services opened its Mombasa Office at Moi International Airport on Thursday as it prepares to add more flights on the Coastal route.

According to the airline Managing Director Moses Mwangi, the Mombasa office will help it serve its growing customer numbers along the coastal tourism circuit on the back of recovering tourism sector.

“We expect to see increased tourism activities in the coastal routes following the commencement of a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive for frontline personnel in the Tourism and Hospitality sector a few months ago,” Mwangi said.

“The Mombasa Office will help us handle more people who are increasingly gaining confidence to fly again as Hospitality establishments move towards full resumption,” Mwangi added.

The airline said that there will be two daily flights departing from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

The airline also has one daily flight departing from JKIA Terminal 2 to Ukunda. In October, the airline will launch direct flights from JKIA to Malindi.

This will bring the airline’s domestic routes to five, having already operations to Mombasa, Kisumu, Ukunda and Maasai Mara.

In May, 748 launched two daily flights between Nairobi, and Kisumu and later on started operations in Mombasa and Diani.

“We continue to open up new routes in line with our goal of revolutionising service offering by ensuring affordability, efficiency, and passenger safety as part of our bigger commitment to delivering better flight experience to clients,” said 748 Air Services Chairman, Ahmed Jibril.

On these routes, 748 said it will leverage its fast and versatile Dash 8-Q400 aircraft with a capacity of 78 passengers with a return ticket cost starting from as low as Sh10,700.

748 Air Services (K) Ltd is an Air Charter Company that holds an Air Operator Certificate.

Source: The Star

Kenya Airways to call for yet another gov’t bailout

Kenya Airways needs continued government support as it remains in a “precarious financial position” with recovery to pre-COVID levels unlikely before 2024 given delayed vaccinations in Africa, says chief executive Allan Kilavuka.

Briefing investors online on the airline’s half-year results ending June 2021, he said: “Definitely, the company needs financial support, and this is not a secret. We still need financial support from our principals or elsewhere. We are in a negative equity position, which means we are insolvent as an organisation, obviously made worse by the pandemic,” reports Kenya’s Business Daily. Kilavuka did not specify the amount needed.

Kenya Airways’ liabilities reportedly outstripped its assets by KES73.8 billion shilling (USD672.3 million) by June 30, 2021, compared with KES64.1 billion (USD583.5 million) at the same time last year.

The airline last year borrowed KES11 billion (USD100 million) from the state after it was grounded due to the pandemic.

During the first half of 2021, operations continued to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in a KES11.49 billion (USD104.6 million) net loss in the first six months, taking its accumulated losses to more than KES127 billion (USD1.1 billion) – even though the latest results were a 19.8% improvement on the KES14.33 billion (USD130.5 million) posted at the height of the first COVID wave in the first six months of 2020.

The Group’s total revenue during the 2021 half-year reduced by 9% to KES27.354 billion (USD249.145 million) as a result of the cessation of domestic scheduled operations in April 2021, travel restrictions, and lockdowns in the carrier’s key domestic and international markets including the UK, India, China, the UAE, and the US, the airline said in a statement.

Kenya Airways said it currently served 40 international destinations and two domestic routes with significantly reduced frequencies of about 65% compared to 2019. Before the pandemic, it had flown to 40 African destinations. However, COVID-19 restrictions by various states, a slow vaccination roll-out resulting in less than 2% of Africans being vaccinated, and stringent travel restrictions on African travellers in European markets all contributed to a 20% drop in passenger uplift and a 17% decline in passenger revenue to KES20.2 million (USD184,000). Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mathuka said the airline held KES10 billion (USD91 million) in unflown revenue from unused tickets, down from KES13.9 billion (USD126.5 million) in December.

However, cargo revenues increased by 60% as the Group increased cargo uplift by 500 tonnes a month.

Chairman Michael Joseph told investors the company remained focused on cash conservation. “The company has exploited opportunities of raising much needed revenue through passenger charters and ramped up cargo operations. Other initiatives undertaken by management include partnerships with other airlines, lease rentals re-negotiations, payment plans with suppliers and partial deferment of staff salaries.” The said focus for the rest of 2021 would be the survival and the rebound of the company.

Kilavuka said Kenya Airways would continue to adopt “an agile approach in responding to the current dynamic marketplace”. “Our focus is on business recovery and to continue contributing to the rebuilding of economies and communities impacted by the pandemic. Restoring customer confidence for business and leisure travel will be key to growing demand, as well as creating agile and nimble business models that are sustainable and responsive to the customer’s needs.”

The carrier managed to save KES1.5 billion (USD13.6 million) in the past six months after successfully renegotiating aircraft leasing terms with its lessors. This, Kilavuka said, was expected to yield savings of up to KES4.9 billion (USD45 million) by the end of December 2021. “We have mainly focused on operating leases. What we have done is negotiate with our lessors so that they can amend the lease terms. These were long and difficult discussions, but in the end, we have been able to extract some amendments to the leases,” he explained. “The bottom line is to look at the least fleet ownership cost that we can get.” With its operations greatly reduced during the pandemic, the carrier had negotiated to only pay hourly rates instead of fixed leases for when the aircraft were flying.

The airline’s fleet comprises eight B737-800s, two B737-300(F)s, two B737-700s, and nine B787-8s, as well as fifteen ERJ 190-100ARs, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module reveals. Nineteen of its aircraft are on operating leases from amongst others Aviation Capital Group, BOC Aviation, DAE Capital, DVB Bank, GECAS, Goshawk, Macquarie AirFinance, and Nordic Aviation Capital.

The carrier has also saved KES155 million (USD1.4 million) from ongoing workforce reduction and payroll reviews, reports Citizen TV. In 2020, it had cut KES3.4 billion (USD30.9 million) from payroll-related costs as it began implementing a blanket reduction to staff salaries.

However, the airline reportedly has defaulted on local lenders who now only maintain a revolving credit facility agreed with the company as part of the restructuring of KES17 billion (USD155 million) worth of unsecured loans in 2017. International lenders like JP Morgan and Citibank have secured their loans through the airline’s fleet.

As reported, the Kenyan government, which holds a 48.9% stake in the carrier, plans to fully re-nationalise the flag carrier by creating a National Aviation Council and a holding company, Kenya Aviation Corporation, that will house three subsidiaries: Kenya Airways, the Kenya Airports Authority, and an investment arm, the Aviation Investment Corporation. Kenya Airways in May 2021 engaged UK consultancy firm, Steer Group, to draft a turnaround strategy.

Source: Ch-Aviation

Zambia hopes China-funded airport will make it “African aviation hub”

Zambia commissioned the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola, the country’s second largest city and the commercial hub of its central copper producing region.

The airport’s $400m construction cost was financed with a government-to-government loan from China’s Export-Import Bank, and it was designed and built by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic).

The opening ceremony was performed by Edgar Lungu, president of Zambia.

“Today marks a key milestone in the transportation sector and the aviation subsector, in particular, as we continue on our journey to repositioning Zambia as a major aviation hub in Africa,” he said, reports Xinhua.

He added: “Travellers to Ndola can now experience the world-class look and feel here at the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport. This airport is in close proximity with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga Province and will improve business between the two countries.”

The facility, one of four international airports in the country, will take over from the existing Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe airport, named after a former vice president of Zambia.

Lei Yinqui, a senior consultant at Avic, said the 3.5km runway and the terminal would be able to deal with a million passengers a year. [https://www.mwebantu.com/president-edgar-lungu-commissions-new-simon-mwansa-kapwepwe-airport/]

He added that 800 local jobs were created during the work, and that more than 20 local subcontractors earned $40m in fees.
As well as the airport, the development has a business complex, a 50-room hotel, a fire and rescue station, cargo terminal and maintenance hangar.

Source: GCR

UK keeps travel ban on Kenya amid tourism season

Travellers from Kenya remain banned from the United Kingdom in the latest update that took effect Thursday evening in a fresh blow for tourism which is currently in its main season.

The UK updated countries on England’s “Red List” amid concerns about the spread of new Covid-19 variants that have now been reported in Kenya.

Britain retained Kenya, whose cases of Covid-19 have been surging by double digits, on the travel ban first placed in April.

The decision deals a fresh blow to the Kenyan hospitality industry, whose tourism season traditionally peaks from July to September, coinciding with the country’s dry season and the world-renowned migration of wildebeest and zebra through Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Kenya is a popular tourism destination for Britons. The UK has been a top tourism source market for Kenya. In 2019, it emerged fourth in ranking, with tourist visits of 181,484.

The UK has segmented countries into green, amber and red lists, each carrying different degrees of restrictions for arrivals back to Britain.

A British citizen travelling from a Green and Amber List is not required to undergo a mandatory quarantine.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the Red List are denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels.

Kenya had earlier protested the ban having relaxed punitive requirements imposed on British citizens, which required them to undergo 14 days of isolation before entering the country.

Kenya had 232,869 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 4,635 deaths, with a positivity rate of 12.9 percent as of Thursday.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariott Howe recently urged Nairobi to ensure speedy vaccinations countrywide, a move that would se the lifting of the ban.

She noted that the British government reviews the list often and linked the removal of India, which had high infections, to increased immunisation.

“We are reviewing the list too often, and we hope that Kenya comes out of the list soon. The more vaccines we have, the more genome sequencing we have, the easier it is to get off the red list, and that is why India had an advantage,” she noted.

Kenya on Monday received 880,460 doses of Moderna vaccines in yet another boost to the ongoing vaccination drive that targets to vaccinate 10 million people by the end of the year.

The Moderna doses, donated by the US government, is the second vaccine in Kenya’s programme after AstraZeneca, with at least 1,615,687 people having received at least one jab and 780,377 fully vaccinated by August 22. 

Source: Business Daily