Kenya and Jamaica enjoy close relations as shown by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent visit to Jamaica and a growing number of Jamaican musicians thronging into East Africa. However, distance and connecting flights have always been a problem.
However, after the successful test of Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to New York, Kenya is looking to expand into this market with an idea of trans Atlantic flight to Caribean. Kenya Airways already has well-established routes to West African countries of Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Ivory Coast which could be used as stop-overs to the Caribean.
This can also open up other destination in Africa for the Jamaican route including to Ethiopia, South Africa, and North Africa. The flight time from East Africa to Senegal, Liberia and Ivory Coast is 8 hours, the same period it takes to make the trans- Atlantic flight.
In their talks, President Kenyatta and PM Holness explored existing opportunities for cooperation in air transport with the Kenyan leader saying that flights from the East Coast of Africa to Jamaica will help strengthen economic ties between Caribbean countries and the African continent.
“Our national carrier now has scheduled direct flights from Nairobi to New York but we would like to see flights flying from the East Coast to the West Coast of Africa and directly to Jamaica, and through Jamaica to the rest of the Caribbean as a true way of deepening our partnership,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta said one sure way of deepening the partnership between Kenya and Jamaica is to encourage more trade and deepen commercial ties between the two countries.
However, with busier routes like Nigeria and Ghana already getting Kenya’s attention, this might as well be the preferred stop-over.
A delegation of Kenya travel agents under the banner of Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) is already on an official visit to Nigeria held a meeting with the Kenya Airways Country Manager Mr. Hafeez Balogun at their offices in Ikeja, Lagos.
The meeting focused on how Kenya Airways as the bridge that connects East Africa and West Africa could support the partnership and collaboration between Kenya Travel Agents and their counterparts in Nigeria through their respective Associations.
Kenya Airways has been feted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for exemplary services. The Authority’s Director for Consumer Protection Adamu Abdullahi said the out of the 244 flights it operated in Nigeria for the past half-year, only 68 had been delayed, 2 canceled and 1 had a ramp return. Additionally, the Authority only received one complain registered against the national carrier.