Relief for food exporters as more airlines resume flights


Relief for food exporters as more airlines resume flights

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Foreign-based airlines have resumed flying to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as European countries start easing Covid-19 lockdowns, pushing up demand for fresh produce and the capacity of freighters.

The latest entrants are British Airways and Singapore Air, which had stopped plying the Nairobi route following restrictions on international travel and low demand for horticultural produce in Europe after cancellation of orders.

Other airlines have also increased their frequencies, with Ethiopian Airlines flying daily from JKIA, KLM three times a week and Kenya Airways (KQ) also making a couple of trips to Europe and China.

“We are happy that the capacity for freight is now building up at JKIA and this will go a long way in ensuring we do not suffer space constraint as well as address the high cargo rates being levied at the moment,” said Fresh Produce Consortium chief executive Ojepat Okisegere.

Emirates SkyCargo introduced two weekly flights last month, utilising the belly-hold capacity on its wide-body Boeing 777-300 ER passenger aircraft to supplement the cargo capacity offered by its freight aircraft from Nairobi and Eldoret.


This has added to the capacity that had been constrained because of the Covid-19 that saw several airlines pull out of the route.

The British carrier started daily cargo flight to Nairobi yesterday, deploying its B777 passenger aircraft for freight services as demand goes up at JKIA.

Freighters are at the moment charging between $2.8 and $3.5 per kilogramme of cargo that should cost about a dollar under normal circumstances.

Many countries in Europe, including Italy, Germany and the UK, have started easing lockdowns as they slowly open their economies following months of restrictions on movement.

The opening up of the economies means that they require more food, especially fruits and vegetables.

The European market normally relies on Africa and the US for the supply of fresh produce. The US is still largely under lockdown.

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