Friday, June 21, 2013

► KENYA: Air India to resume Nairobi, East African flights "soon".

Air India logoAir India (AI) is set to resume flights to East Africa in the near future, India's civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, has announced. The Indian carrier last served Nairobi in 2010, but has since reconsidered its move in light of growing trade and cultural relations between Africa and India.

Air India 707 in Nairobi in the 60s
Air India 707 in Nairobi in the 60s (JSK)
After Jet Airways (9W) abandoned Johannesburg last year as part of its route rationalization plan, no Indian carrier has served Africa. However, on the back of growing interest in the Indian market from the likes of Ethiopian Airlines (ET) and Kenya Airways (KQ), both of whom have expressed interest in starting flights to Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata, Cochin, Trivandrum and Hyderabad, Air India has had a change of heart.
"There are plans to start services to Africa soon," India's civil aviation minister Ajit Singh told IANS during a visit here. "There is a huge potential in the sector due to growing traffic between India and some of the African countries on account of trade and business developments as well as education and medical tourism," said Singh.
Source [Times of India]

Nairobi is said to be first on the list of East African destinations.

Pressure from Middle East-based airlines like Emirates (EK), Etihad (EY) and Qatar Airways (QR) has also added to the need to re-establish the flights, with neighbours Pakistan International Airlines (PK) also considering flights to Nairobi and Johannesburg.

Air India once served Africa prolifically with flights to Addis Ababa, Accra, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Lagos, Mauritius, Seychelles, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Durban and Lusaka.