Qatar and Ethiopian airlines are seeking approval from the aviation regulator to operate direct cargo flights from Nairobi ahead of this year’s Valentine Day, stepping up competition with Kenya Airways which has previously opposed the move.
The airlines have applied for ad-hoc flights from Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to boost the limited capacity at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Ministry of Transport in November said it would not grant Ethiopian Airlines permission to fly directly from Nairobi to Europe without making a stopover at its base at Bole International Airport after Addis Ababa denied KQ rights to fly directly from Bole. Normally, foreign airlines are not allowed to fly directly from Kenya to any other part of the country without making a stopover at their hub, but KCAA can allow ad-hoc flights within a certain window.
KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe confirmed that Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways have sought approval for direct flights but did not indicate whether they will be allowed. Ethiopian Airlines country manager Tigist Terefe said they will offer capacity according to their operation schedule during this peak season, without saying whether they have received approval.
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