Home » Africa: Kenya Airways Resumes Mogadishu, Somali Flights After Four Years With Thrice-Weekly Flights, Aiming to Enhance Trade and Economic Opportunities in East Africa

Africa: Kenya Airways Resumes Mogadishu, Somali Flights After Four Years With Thrice-Weekly Flights, Aiming to Enhance Trade and Economic Opportunities in East Africa

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Kenya Airways has made a significant milestone by resuming operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, marking its return after nearly four years. The revival of services comes in the wake of the bilateral air services agreement signed between the Somali and Kenyan governments in August 2023.

According to simpleflying.com, this development not only strengthens diplomatic ties between the two nations but also opens up new opportunities for connectivity and trade in the region. The resumption of flights is expected to facilitate increased travel and foster economic cooperation between Kenya and Somalia.

Returning to Somalia with the Embraer 190
Kenya Airways first announced the resumption of flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu late last year. It initially launched passenger flights between the two capitals in November 2018, but the service was discontinued in 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Aviation: East African Carrier, Kenya Airways To Increase Frequency To 18 Flights To Nairobi From Lagos, Set Eyes On Abuja Operations By End of Year

The inaugural flight was operated on February 15 with KQ’s 96-seat Embraer 190 aircraft. According to Flightradar24, flight KQ362 departed Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) at 14:22 local time and arrived at Mogadishu Aden Adde International (MGQ) at 15:45.

The airline will offer three weekly flights with the same aircraft on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. According to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics company, KQ has 138 scheduled flights to Mogadishu this year, offering 13,248 seats.

READ: Aviation: East African Carrier, Kenya Airways Faces Covert Cyberattack as Ransomware Group Strikes

Regional expansion in 2024
The resumption of Mogadishu flights is a significant step for the Kenyan national carrier as it seeks to add more destinations in Africa. The new route is expected to enhance trade, economic opportunities, and tourism between the two East African countries.

As of February 2023, Mogadishu is the carrier’s 35th destination in Africa. The resumption of this route aligns with the company’s strategic commitment to expand its presence within the continent and contributes to its long-term economic progression. Kenya Airways hosted an event at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to officially inaugurate this service. Highlighting the importance of adding Mogadishu to its network, Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka said.

In addition to the thrice-weekly passenger flights, Kenya Airways also offers a weekly cargo service between Mogadishu and Sharjah, which is set to be increased to twice-weekly in April 2024. The service is operated with the recently acquired Boeing 737-800 freighter. Speaking to Jon Howell on the AviaDev Insight Africa podcast, Kenya Airways’ Head of Network Planning and Alliances, Martin Gitonga, explained the vast potential for cargo in Somalia, with most of the country’s goods being imported.

Regarding the airline’s international expansion, he also revealed that Kenya Airways plans to add four new destinations by the end of the year. The next destination to return to its network is Maputo, Mozambique, last served regularly in March 2020. KQ will resume Nairobi-Maputo flights on June 15, 2024, starting with a thrice-weekly frequency.

Somalia and Somaliland airspace dispute
Somalia’s security situation and diplomatic relationship with Kenya have improved over the past year, which was one of the drivers for Kenya Airways to resume flights on the route. In January 2023, Somali airspace regained its Class A classification, which saw air traffic control services return to the Horn of Africa country after over 30 years.

Despite the improvements, Somalia still has multiple disputes with Somaliland, which includes the Ethiopian Airlines stake deal from January 2024. There is an ongoing airspace management dispute between the two territories, with Somaliland claiming violations from Mogadishu. As reported by Horn Observer, Somaliland authorities announced intentions to take control of its airspace, previously shared with Somalia.

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