Nairobi (GNO) – Kenya and Somalia have signed a bilateral air services agreement to open the airspace of both countries for direct flights, following months of negotiations between the authorities of the two nations.
Somali minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Fardowsa Osman Egal, and Kipchumba Murkomen, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Roads, Transport, and Public Works, signed the agreement at Transcom House, Nairobi on Wednesday.
Minister Egal stated that this agreement paves a pathway for Somalia-registered airlines to operate flights to Kenya and gain more international flying privileges.
“Previously, Somalia-registered airlines faced limitations in operating flights to Kenya. However, with this accord, they can now conduct flights to Kenya. Currently, most airlines flying between the two nations are registered in other countries, predominantly Kenya. We aim to create opportunities for Somali people in business under Somali registration. Somali airlines will be accorded the same rights as their Kenyan counterparts,” commented Minister Egal.
Kipchumba Murkomen, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Roads, Transport, and Public Works, said in a statement that the designated airlines of the two countries would be permitted to conduct up to seven weekly passenger flight frequencies, adhering to specific routes.
“The designated airlines of both countries may also enter code-sharing arrangements with any airline, including third country airlines, provided that it has an underlying traffic act,” Murkomen said.
He added, “It has also been agreed that the Civil Aviation Authorities of the Contracting Parties shall cooperate in enhancing mutual engagements in civil aviation, capacity building, personnel training and experience sharing,” Kipchumba added.
The cargo flights will operate at unlimited frequencies.
Somalia is one of the fast-growing export markets for Kenya, with Nairobi exporting goods worth 64 million U.S. dollars in the first five months this year, according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya.