National carrier Kenya Airways is now free to fly directly to China via Vietnam after MPs approved the ratification of bilateral air services agreement between Nairobi and Hanoi.
KQ currently flies directly to Guangzhou and to Beijing and Shanghai through a code share agreement with China Southern Airlines. The airline plans to exploit the provisions of the bilateral air services agreement to increase its flights into China from Vietnam.
MPs unanimously passed a report tabled by parliamentary Committee on Transport that also cleared the ratification a bilateral air services agreement signed between Kenya and Liberia that will see KQ expand its flights to Monrovia.
“The committee recommends that the House approves ratification of the bilateral air services agreement between the governments of Kenya and Vietnam and Kenya and Liberia,” said Starehe MP Maina Kamanda.
Mr Kamanda and Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i) challenged Kenya Airways to promote tourism sector through the bilateral arrangement.
“We want KQ management to review the airline ticketing to woo more customers the current charges are extremely higher than other airlines in Africa,” said Mr Namwamba.
Mr Kamanda asked KQ managers to ensure that the Treasury backed-turnaround plan succeeds.
“We want authorities to investigate all individuals involved in the Sh26.2 billion KQ losses and prosecute the culprits,” the Starehe MP said.
The bilateral air services agreements facilitate airlines to expand their existing route networks by directly operating scheduled air services to other markets.
The deal between Kenya and the socialist republic of Vietnam was negotiated and initialed on August7, 2014 in Hanoi.
The delegations representing the two States signed a memorandum of understanding on the same day effecting the provisions of the agreement.
“Kenya Airways commenced scheduled flights to Hanoi, Vietnam on June 30, 2015. Currently, there is no Vietnamese airline operating scheduled flights into Kenya.
“The ratification by Parliament of the agreement will give impetus to Kenya Airways to increase frequencies and enable it to enjoy 5th Freedom Traffic rights,” Mr Kamanda said.
He said the agreement between Kenya and Liberia was negotiated and initialed on August 16, 2005 in Monrovia.
The agreement further allows airlines of the three countries, unable to offer services, to enter into commercial arrangements with other carriers.
“Where airlines are unable to offer services, the agreements allow them to enter into commercial arrangements, especially code share, which allow airlines to grow the demand in other markets by putting their code on other carriers.
“For example, Kenya Airways has a code share with KLM which allows it to put its code KQ on KLM operated flights into Europe and other destinations thereby offering passengers seamless connectivity to the travelling public,” the committee said.
The agreements provide recognition and validity of certificates of airworthiness, competency and licences issued by other contracting party which must also be equal or above the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
“Article 10 provides for user charges imposed by the competent charging authorities of each party to be just, reasonable, non-discriminatory, equitably apportioned among categories of users and based on sound economic principles,” said Mr Kamanda.