Kenya Airways has signed a codeshare deal with Asia’s Hong Kong Airlines in a move that is expected to expand bilateral ties between the two nations.
In the agreement, flights between Nairobi and Hong Kong will increase to daily flights from the previous three-day per week flights.
The codeshare deal between the two airlines will also see Hong Kong Airlines book its customers flying to Nairobi from Thailand on KQ which presently operates one daily flight to and from the Bangkok’s capital.
Kenya Airways chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze said the partnership is set to offer their customers seamless connection and will come in handy for East Africa passengers who mainly travel to the Asian cities for business.
A code share deal allows airlines to sell seats on their plane to market their carrier. The passengers are later transferred onto the partnering airline — the operating carrier.
China has over the past decade played a major role in Kenya’s economy acting as a source for foreign direct investment.
Kenya imported goods worth Sh321 billion from China in 2015 compared to Sh249 billion the previous year, a jump the Economic Survey 2016 associates with the “substantial increase in import expenditure for railway construction materials”.
Hong Kong, the world’s 9th largest trading economy, is one of the forces behind China’s emergence as a global economic giant.
Hong Kong Airlines, a privately-owned airline operates a fleet of 34 aircraft which fly to more than 30 cities across the Asia Pacific region including Beijing, Shanghai,Taipei, Tokyo, Sapporo, Bangkok, Bali and Okinawa.
The carrier does not fly to Africa and is therefore banking on KQ’s continental network to boost its bookings.
“The codeshare enables KQ passengers to choose from our flights between Hong Kong and Bangkok connecting their journey to and from Nairobi with much flexibility,” said Mr Li Dianchun, Hong Kong Airlines chief commercial officer.
“Hong Kong Airlines launched the route to Bangkok in 2010 and now the city has become one of our best connected destinations with 34 weekly flights.”
KQ currently flies directly to Guangzhou and to Beijing as well as Shanghai through a codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines.