Kenya Airways Plans Routes to Libya, Tunisia Within Three Years

Kenya Airways, sub-Saharan Africa's third-biggest airline, plans to begin flights to Libya and Tunisia within three years.

“It was always in our plan to open up Tripoli and Tunisia, more so with the African Development Bank being based there, and also with North Africa starting to look south,” Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said in an interview . Talks between the airline and the Kenyan, Libyan and Tunisian governments have been slowed by political instability in the two North African nations, he said.

The airline’s only route in North Africa is to Egypt. Kenya Airways will add eight new destinations this year, including the capitals of Nigera, Chad, Togo and Burkina Fasso, as well as Mauritius and the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah later this year.

Kenya Airways is training 100 pilots who will be ready to fly its fleet in the next two years, Naikuni said. The carrier, which had 177 pilots in 2002, has 377 pilots, short of the 500 it requires to be optimally staffed, he said. It may look to hire foreign pilots to cover the gap, Naikuni said.

South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise are sub-Saharan Africa’s two biggest carriers, according to IATA, which represents more than 230 airlines making up about 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic.
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