Travellers from Nairobi to Blantyre will now have a relief as Kenya Airways (KQ)has for the first time launched a direct route from Kenya’s capital Nairobi to Malawi’s commercial city Blantyre.
Kenya Airways will ply three times a week—Mondays, Wednesday and Friday—connecting Chileka Airport, Blantyre to the rest of the world, through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
The inaugural launch took place at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on Friday which was presided by Kenya’s Minister of Transport Michael Kamau.
Kamau noted that the absence of flight linkages in Africa has been sighted as a major drawback to trade, investment and interaction among people of the continent and the world at large.
“These direct flights present an opportunity for two countries to deepen a relationship that has been flourishing over the years.” Kamau said.
He added that both Kenya and Malawi were active members of COMESA regional whose vision is to become a fully integrated intentionally, competitive and regional economic community in which he said one way of achieving the vision was the integration of transport infrastructure systems.
“I wish to thank Malawi government for granting approval to Kenya Airways to start operations to Chileka airport in Blantyre and also for granting the 5th freedom traffic right on the Lilongwe-Lusaka centre,” he said.
The 5th freedom traffic rights are privileges, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State to put down and to take on, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from or destined to a third State.
In his remarks Malawi’s Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, Brigadier General Marcel Chirwa (retired) said that the bilateral relations between Malawi and Kenya were governed under the framework of the Malawi-Kenya Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC).
“Under this [JPCC] arrangement, Malawi and Kenya cooperate in a number of areas of mutual interest such as trade and investment, bilateral air services among others. therefore, it is pleasing to note that the introduction of the Kenya Airways flight to Blantyre, Malawi will promote these linkages and will further enhance trade between Malawi and Kenya,” Chirwa said.
The Deputy High Commissioner said his mission to Nairobi continues to work towards the consolidation of the existing bilateral relations between the two countries and particularly the promotion of trade, investment and tourism.
Chirwa who was among the passengers for the first flight to Blantyre thanked Kenya Airways for taking a bold decision in launching the first ever direct route from Nairobi to Blantyre adding this was to help in enhancing trade between the two countries.
Kenya Airways already has flights to Lilongwe’s Kamuzu International Airport.
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