Friday February 9, 2024
by IVY KITTANY
Kenya Airways Cargo (KQ Cargo) has expanded its route network to include direct cargo flights between Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Mogadishu in Somalia.
Sharjah is the third most populous city in the UAE.
The new route will be served weekly, effective February 9, and is expected to grow to two weekly frequencies in April 2024.
KQ Cargo has partnered with GSA Global Cargo LLC, a global cargo sale and service agent based out of UAE, as the cargo logistics partner to service the route.
KQ Cargo recently increased its freight capacities with the entry into service of a Boeing 737-800F.
According to management, the new freighter offers an extended range, connecting vital cargo hubs and opening new opportunities for cargo services to meet customers' demands and an ever-evolving market.
KQ Cargo director Dick Murianki said the new route aligns with the airline's revamped mission of strengthening its position as Africa's preferred cargo carrier, offering network options for customers.
"The direct route between UAE and Somalia offers huge demand for air freight transportation, particularly high-tech consumer goods, automotive parts, project cargo, and clothing, which are the most frequently flown goods on the route,” said Murianki.
He noted that Kenya Airways has the expertise in the region, and the Boeing 737-800F's apt capacity would be the ideal mix over the long term.
GSA Global Cargo CEO, Kannan Nachiappan, said the direct connection between UAE and Somalia offers customers more capacity, cuts transit times and reduces costs.
"UAE, being a multi-modal logistics hub, acts as a primary gateway to Africa, and having a dedicated KQ Cargo freighter to offer this service helps cut transit times and offer scheduled main deck capacity into several remote destinations across the region,” Nachiappan said.
This service, he added would cover a market characterised by narrow body belly-only options, lengthy transit times, and expensive rates.
Kenya Airways will also be resuming direct passenger flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu starting February 15.
Air freight business was critical during the Covid-19 pandemic period as it kept airlines afloat, at a period when passenger numbers were low on restricted travel.