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The Government has signed an aviation agreement with Angola, paving the way for increased contact and trade between the two countries. The Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) signed by Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau and Angola’s Minister for Transport Augusto da Silva Tomás, will open the way for Angolan airline TAAG to start direct flights between Luanda and Nairobi.

The agreement signed last week is an upgrade on an earlier one signed between the two governments in 2011, which Kenya Airways relied on to launch its flights to Angola. Kenya Airways currently operates three direct flights on the Nairobi-Luanda route. Speaking at the event, Mr Kamau challenged Kenya Airways to increase its frequency on the route and hoped TAAG would also start flying between Luanda and Nairobi.

“The commencement of direct flights between the two States represents a vital alternative for the business community, tourists and other travellers between Kenya and Angola. Kenya Airways is at the moment utilising all three of the allowed frequencies, which is not an ideal situation for business people who would like to conduct business between Kenya and Angola,” he said in a statement.

The BASA signed by the two countries provides for single designation, and three weekly flights. Eng Kamau also used the platform to pitch for the tourism sector and increased contact between the two countries. ” Kenya is known for its varied and enticing tourist attractions such as the famous national parks that offer so much in terms of flora and fauna. Kenya’s coast with cities and towns like Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu are a tourist’s paradise,” he said. “I would appeal to tour operators in both countries to make extra effort to market Kenya and Angola as tourist destinations jointly,” he said.

Kamau urged businesses and tour operators to take advantage of the direct flights between the two countries to improve commercial relations. He noted that Kenya has made key investments in airspace management facilities and airport infrastructure to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers.