• Monday, June 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kenya Airways to increase flight frequencies, connectivity into Nigeria

Kenya Airways to increase flight frequencies, connectivity into Nigeria

…says Nigeria key in Africa’s aviation landscape

Kenya Airways has announced plans to increase flight frequencies to Lagos, with daily flights set to rise from seven weekly frequencies to 10.

The airline is also considering the prospect of introducing additional routes, including flights to Abuja, to further bolster accessibility within Nigeria and beyond.

“Currently when I look at arrival statistics to Kenya, if I just talk about tourism, Nigeria is number 16 among the key source markets for arrival for tourists in Kenya. A small number, last year was around 33,200, which was for me not so good from a country of more than 200m people, it is a small number,” Thairu Julius, the airline’s Chief Commercial & Customer Officer said during a press conference held in Lagos recently.

“In fact if we break that down, it is less than a 100 Nigerians a day coming to Kenya. So we are also challenging ourselves and working with other stakeholders including tourism boards, hotels, to figure out what we need to do more to encourage more Nigerians to come to Kenya. And I am sure that Nigeria as a country will be doing the same to attract more people to travel between our two countries,” he said.

He emphasised that Nigeria remains crucial role in driving prosperity across the continent.

Julius, a seasoned aviation professional with 24 years of industry experience spanning multiple continents, expressed his deep-rooted passion for the aviation sector, highlighting its far-reaching impact on various facets of life.

“Nigeria is an important market for Kenya Airways,” Julius affirmed, “it is actually the second biggest market in Africa, and it should be the biggest but it is second biggest after South Africa.”

Reflecting on Kenya Airways’ longstanding presence in Lagos since 1998, Julius reiterated the airline’s commitment to prioritising Africa and fostering intercontinental connections.

“We pride ourselves as an airline that puts Africa first and connects Africa,” he remarked, underlining the pivotal role of air connectivity in spurring trade, tourism, and economic progress across the continent.

Acknowledging Africa’s burgeoning growth and the imperative need for enhanced connectivity, Julius voiced support for initiatives such as the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He emphasised the pivotal role of aviation in bridging geographical barriers and facilitating seamless interactions between African nations.

Highlighting Nigeria’s significance in the African context, Julius underscored the country’s cultural and economic influence, emphasising the need for Nigeria’s prosperity to catalyse broader continental progress.

“Nigeria is important for Africa, and Africa in my view will never prosper or move forward if Nigeria is not prosperous,” he asserted, emphasising the need for collective African solutions to address the continent’s unique challenges.

Julius stated that Africa must face challenges head on; “Solutions must come from us, African people,” he said. “ There is nobody out there that can help us figure out our issues, it is us to figure out and to define even how to govern ourselves. And not looking at “what is the western way or what is the eastern way.” We have to create an African way.”

Addressing the imperative of attracting more Nigerian travellers to Kenya, Julius emphasised the need for collaborative efforts with stakeholders to stimulate tourism and bolster bilateral exchanges between the two countries. He outlined initiatives aimed at enhancing customer experience, including the introduction of the Asante loyalty program and strategic partnerships with hospitality and telecommunications entities.

Central to Kenya Airways’ vision is a customer-centric approach, with Julius underscoring the importance of cultivating a service-oriented culture within the organisation. By prioritising customer satisfaction and streamlining operational efficiency, the airline aims to consolidate its position as a leading player in the African aviation industry.