KQ enters cargo pact with horticulture exporters
National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has entered a pact with local horticulture exporters to enhance the capacity of fresh produce carried on its flights.
The pair of partners are expected to collaborate on the lifting of Kenya’s fresh produce to the overseas market from which KQ will be seeking to grow its share of cargo revenue.
On their part, horticulture exporters represented by the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), the Fresh Produce Consortium and the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) will be eyeing better freight terms under the new collaboration.
“This is a commitment for collaboration and marks the start of a new working relationship with Kenya Airways, probably much more than we have done before,” said KFC Chief Executive Officer Clement Tulezi.
The players have set their sights on dedicated flights to routes where the carrier would have otherwise not flied to along with subsided freight rates.
Meanwhile, the partnership comes as KQ prepares to deepen its cargo business from the current seven per cent of revenues.
At present, the carrier is awaiting clearance by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its recently converted Dreamliner craft for full-cargo operations.
“We are at anytime launching a fully re-purposed wide body in which we have removed all passenger seats to create more cargo capacity of about 10 tons,” said Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka.
KQ lifts between 800 and 1000 tons of cargo every week but cargo only represents seven percent of its business at present.
The carrier is now seeking to grow this share as it pursues a dual mandate of leveraging rebounding passenger air travel alongside sustained demand for cargo.
“We see a day when 50 per cent of Kenya’s exports will be carried by Kenya Airways, said KQ Cargo Director Dick Murianki.
KQ has been forced to re-prioritize cargo as part of its core business following the advent of COVID-19 as a pandemic which dismantled passenger demand for air travel.