Kenya is in talks with the Algerian government on the possibility of operating direct flights between the two countries in efforts to boost trade ties.
A technical experts’ meeting held in early December 2016 finalised negotiations on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (Basa) that will at the initial stage allow seven flights per week.
Basas facilitate airlines to expand their existing route networks by directly operating scheduled air services to other markets.
In addition, where airlines are unable to offer services, the agreements allow them to enter into commercial contracts called code share that allow airlines to grow the demand in other markets by making arrangements with other carriers.
Kenya ambassador to Algeria Moi Lemoshira said the negotiations have been concluded and await signing by ministers of Transport from the two countries.
“At the initial stages, the Basa will allow for seven flights per week. The experts finalised the agreement and initialised a Memorandum of Understanding, which is ready for signing by the ministers in charge of air transport,” he said.
Signing of the Basa will allow the national carriers of the two states to initiate direct flights between Nairobi and Algiers.
Direct links between Kenya and Algeria will ease movement of goods and people, which in turn will boost intra-African trade relations.
Currently, a flight departing from Nairobi and destined for Algeria has to pass through Dubai, Istanbul, Doha or Paris, a journey that lasts up to 12 hours.
Operating direct flights between Nairobi and Algiers will cut the flight duration significantly to around seven hours.
In December last year at the Africa Investment and Business development forum held in Algiers, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed welcomed the initiative.
She told the forum that direct flights between Algeria and Kenya will reduce travelling time between the two countries.
“The realisation of direct flights will not only reduce flying time between the two countries, but would also enhance trade between East Africa and the Maghreb region, and in the end contribute to intra-Africa trade,” she said.
In 2012, Kenya identified 13 countries which it intended to negotiate with for new air service agreements, or review the existing ones, in efforts to expand its aviation links with the rest of the world.