Somalia and Kenya signed an aviation agreement to boost connectivity and promote trade between the two nations. The bilateral agreement, signed after months of negotiations, opens the airspace of both countries for direct flights, marking a significant step toward strengthened aviation cooperation.
Nairobi, KENYA. By Jama:
Somalia’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Fardowsa Osman Egal, accompanied by high-ranking officials, joined counterparts from the Kenyan Ministry of Roads and Transport, led by Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, in signing the agreement that took place at the Transcom House in Nairobi.
Under the terms of the agreement, designated airlines from both countries will be permitted to conduct up to seven weekly passenger flights between the two countries along specific routes.
The accord paves the way for Somalia-registered airlines to operate flights to Kenya, aligning with broader efforts to facilitate international operations for all Somali carriers. Minister Egal emphasized the agreement’s significance, noting that it will foster closer aviation ties and facilitate knowledge exchange between the two nations.
According to CS Murkomen, the deal also allows for potential code-sharing arrangements between designated airlines, including those from third countries.
Moreover, both countries’ civil aviation authorities have committed to collaborating on various additional fronts. These include civil aviation enhancements, capacity building, personnel training or experience sharing. All such activities will reinforce the mutual commitment to a thriving aviation sector.
Airline companies concerned
However, the agreement has raised concerns among existing airline companies. They fear the new accord could lead to a monopoly of selected airlines, reducing competition and squeezing them out of the aviation business. Critics worry that if the agreement’s implementation transforms the aviation sector into an environment devoid of healthy competition, it could adversely affect Somalia’s local businesses.
It is worth noting that while passenger flights are subject to limitations, cargo flights will enjoy the flexibility of operating at unlimited frequencies, further supporting trade and business activities between the two nations.
As the bilateral aviation agreement takes flight, both Somalia and Kenya will need to ensure a balanced approach that addresses the concerns of airline companies while maximizing the benefits of enhanced connectivity, trade, and cooperation in the aviation sector.