Kenya and Mozambique on Wednesday signed a bilateral agreement to cut restrictions on air travel between them.
The deal signed by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau and Mozambique Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications Manuela Joaquim Rebelo is also aimed at increasing the volume of trade between the two countries while improving bilateral relations.
It also allows privately owned airlines with substantial local ownership from both countries to apply for licences to fly between Maputo and Nairobi.
Currently national carrier Kenya Airways and LAM Mozambique Airline are the only ones allowed to operate between the two countries with five frequencies weekly.
The introduction of other airlines will spur competition which will likely lead to a fall in the cost of flying with Mr Kamau insisting that the government would not try to regulate the price but provide conditions that would attract more players in the industry.
“It is a free market and there is no way we can control ticket prices. The only thing we can do is to promote an environment that supports growth.”
While calling for privately owned airlines to apply and operate on the route, Mr Kamau said the government was committed to implementing an open sky policy with all African countries.
“There is no reason why someone travelling to a destination in Africa has to go through the Middle East or Europe,” the minister said, adding that Kenya was negotiating with Rwanda to sign a similar agreement.
“As a ministry, we are committed to negotiating and renewing bilateral air service agreements to expand the air route network available to local airlines on the continent in order to improve connectivity which will allow flexibility in movement of cargo and passengers,” he said.
The agreement also allows airlines to sign code share agreements which will make it cheaper for smaller airlines to travel between the two countries with minimal losses.
A code share agreement is a deal where two or more airlines share the same flight to cut losses associated with below capacity flights.
Source:: Daily Nation