NAIROBI: Kenya Airways has launched direct flights to Abuja in Nigeria from its hub at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, paving way for closer ties between the two countries.
The airline will now fly four times a week between JKIA in Nairobi and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The launch comes on the heels of the recent State visit to Nigeria by President Kenyatta as the two countries seek to further cement ties. In recent days, there has been a flurry of activity between the two countries as business magnates conduct high level investment trips to scout for investment opportunities in either nation.
Speaking during the launch of the direct flights to Abuja, Eng Michael Kamau, Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure said the direct flights will boost bilateral ties between the two countries.
“Enhancement of intra-African trade is one of the key objectives of our government and transport is a key element to the success of this goal. President Kenyatta and the rest of the government, are determined to ensure that relationship between African countries is strengthened,” Kamau added.
Abuja becomes the second Nigerian city that Kenya Airways flies into and currently, the airline has a daily service of ten flights of which seven are direct to Lagos. The introduction of the flights to Abuja follows a review of the Bilateral Service Agreements by the Kenyan and Nigerian governments in 2013.
Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni, said the introduction of direct flights to Abuja was an illustration of the airline’s commitment towards supporting the continent’s development by facilitating intra-African trade, tourism and interactions between different regions.
“The introduction of direct flights between Nairobi and Abuja is in line with our long term growth strategy, through which we aim to grow our network of destinations and fly to every African capital by 2016,” Naikuni added. The direct flights to Abuja will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of every week.