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Kenya Airways to launch daily flights to Somalia

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya Airways said Monday it plans to launch direct flights to Somali capital Mogadishu from Thursday as part of expansion to the Horn of Africa region.

Sebastian Mikosz, chief executive officer of Kenya Airways, said the airline will fly seven times weekly as it seeks to enhance intra-Africa air connectivity linking cities and facilitating movement of people, and thereby enhancing social and economic ties between the countries.

“The addition of this route to our network demonstrates our commitment to improving connectivity on the African continent, while creating new opportunities for corporates investors, traders and tourists,” Mikosz said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said that the daily flight is aimed at meeting the growing travel demand by Somali travelers, government and non-government organization officials and a growing number of entrepreneurs from Kenya and around the region who are keen on seeking opportunities in the country.

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the Horn of Africa nation is positioned as one of the largest export markets for Kenya.

In 2017, exports to Somalia increased by 33.5 percent, which equates to a value of some 10.7 billion Kenyan Shillings (about 107 million U.S. dollars).

Mikosz said the flight operated by Jambojet is scheduled to depart Nairobi at about 7:40 a.m. and depart Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu at 10:45 a.m. to arrive back in Nairobi at 1:00 p.m.

“We want to extend our network reach and make it convenient for our guests who work and invest in Somalia,” he said.

With the demand for travel by traders to Somalia through Nairobi increasing, the launch of this route is expected to ease travel between the two cities that are the focal points of business in the two countries and spur commercial activities.



Ethiopian Airlines restarts Addis Ababa-Mogadishu flights
after 41 years, as Ethiopia-Somalia ties further deepen

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia’s flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) on Friday launched thrice weekly direct passenger flights between Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, after 41 years break, adding momentum to increasing bilateral economic ties.

Direct flights between Ethiopia and Somalia were suspended shortly after the outbreak of the 1977-78 border war between the two nations.

The launch of commercial flights between Ethiopia and Somalia, also came amid wider optimism in the Horn of Africa region and came after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed paid a state visit to Somalia in June, in a bid to boost political and economic ties between the two nations.

Speaking at the flight inaugural ceremony in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Abdullahi Mohammed Warfa, deputy head of Mission in Somalia embassy to Ethiopia, said the flight resumption would help connect the large Somali diaspora to its motherland.

“We would like to request Ethiopia to continue its support on one hand and to continue to connect our people who are in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia, connecting them with other destinations in the world,” said Warfa.

Warfa also said he had a personal reason to celebrate the resumption of direct flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, as the new flight route significantly cuts the air time he had to endure to travel between the two cities. 

“When I was coming to Addis Ababa from Mogadishu, I used to go through Nairobi or Djibouti city or other places to come to Addis Ababa,” he said.

“It took four to five hours to come to Addis Ababa, but now it was made easy and I will go in less than two hours, thank you, Ethiopian Airlines.”

Warfa’s optimism was shared by Ali Adem Mohammed, Deputy Chairman of the Somalia community in Ethiopia, who said he hoped cargo flights will be added soon, supplementing the already launched passenger flights.

“This flight will further deepen the bond between Ethiopians and Somalians, I hope as next step ET will start cargo flights on top of the passenger flights,” said Mohammed.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam, for his part emphasized the historical nature of the resumption of flights between Addis Ababa-Mogadishu and its potential economic benefits.

“Today, it’s a great day to restart a direct flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu after 40 years, today is a historical day. Trade, investment and tourism ties between Ethiopia and Somalia have been challenged by lack of adequate air connectivity,” he said.

“The resumption of air services will promote will promote tourism, trade relations and investment between Ethiopia and Somalia, as well promote cross border investment and people-to-people relations,” he further said.

GebreMariam told Xinhua that Ethiopian Airlines also plans to launch cargo flights to Mogadishu, with an eye to facilitate Somalia sea food exports to the rest of the world, China in particular.

“We have seen how sea food exports from the likes Madagascar and Comoros via our Addis Ababa International Airport to China has boosted their economies, Somalia will join this scheme soon,” he further said.

Already, Ethiopian Airlines in October launched a freighter service from Norwegian capital Oslo to Guangzhou in southern China, transporting twice a week Norwegian sea food products to Chinese customers.


Zimbabwean national carrier courts investors as it seeks to revive fortunes

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- National carrier Air Zimbabwe, which was recently placed under an administration, on Monday invited interested parties to invest in it.

Parties interested in investing in the group are required to register interest with the Air Zimbabwe administrator at Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants, an informal tender notice from the administrator said.

Interested investors are required to pay a non-refundable documentation fee of 20,000 U.S. dollars and sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to receiving the information memorandum and other relevant documentation.

The administrator has also placed a tender for the wet lease of one of Air Zimbabwe’s two Boeing 767-200ERs.

A wet lease is an arrangement covering the hire of an aircraft including the provision of a flight crew and sometimes fuel.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Matiza has said recommendations that the government should assume Air Zimbabwe’s debt amounting to 377 million U.S. dollars could pave way for attracting a strategic partner.

“This (debt assumption by Government), as recommended by the committee (Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development), will give a competitive advantage to the airline as it seeks to engage a partner,” state media quoted him saying last week.

“I intend to go to tender this coming week to seek an investor for the airline,” he said.

The airline has been saddled with debt and has been failing to competitively service its routes with passengers suffering delays and even flight cancellations.



KFC Zimbabwe re-opens after month-long break due to currency crisis

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Internationally famed fast food chain, KFC, on Friday re-opened its outlets in Zimbabwe after a month-long shutdown due to foreign currency challenges that resulted in rising prices of most goods.

At the time for shutdown, KFC said it had to temporarily suspend operations due to the “current pressure on the country’s economy.”

The period saw the value of the local bond note falling sharply against the United States dollar, making it unviable for most businesses to remain operational.

However, other outlets in the same business responded by increasing prices by more than 50 percent.

KFC operates six outlets in Zimbabwe.

“We are excited to announce that we will be reopening our restaurants across Zimbabwe today (Friday),” the firm said in a statement.


Death toll in Zimbabwe’s horrific bus accident rises to 50

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The death toll in Zimbabwe’s horrific bus crash that occurred Wednesday along the Harare-Mutare highway has risen to 50.

According to police, 40 people died on the spot, 5 on their way to hospital while 2 more passed on Thursday morning.

Three more succumbed to their injuries late Thursday, bringing the death toll to 50, the state broadcaster ZBC reported Friday.

The accident, which also injured 80 people, occurred when two long-distance buses collided along the highway.

Government has since declared the crash a national disaster.

Police, meanwhile, have launched a man hunt for the driver and conductor of one of the buses involved in the accident after they fled from the scene.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has since sent a message of condolences to families of the people who died in the accident, one of the worst in the country in recent months.



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