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China Southern Airlines starts Nairobi flights

By Standard Reporter | August 6th 2015

China Southern Airlines made its maiden flight from Guangzhou to Nairobi yesterday with the new service having a frequency of three flights a week under the airline's own code.

The entry of the airline is expected to step up competition for Kenya Airways in the growing freight and passenger business between China and Kenya. This will be a big blow to the national carrier, which is already in financial distress and recently reported a historical loss.

China Southern Airlines President Si Xianmin leads other guests who arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) yesterday morning. (PHOTO: EDWARD KIPLIMO/STANDARD)

The battle lines appear to have been drawn and we have since learned that the Chinese carrier floated a tender and eventually awarded the ground-handling services contract to Africa Flight Services, which is a big departure from the tradition where members of the Sky Team alliance are handled by the host member, which in that case would be KQ.

Africa Flight Services, associated with billionaire businessman Peter Muthoka, has a major cargo handling investment at JKIA and is in partnership with World Flight Services, a top global ground-handling company.

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