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Kenya, US sign deal allowing direct air cargo transport

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ALLAN OLINGO

By ALLAN OLINGO
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Kenya and the United States (US) have signed an amendment to the US-Kenya Air Transport Agreement, which will see easier movement of goods between the two countries.

The amendment, which adds all-cargo rights to the existing air transport agreement, is expected to offer air carriers greater flexibility to meet customers’ cargo and express delivery needs more efficiently.

It adds seventh-freedom traffic rights for all-cargo operations, meaning cheaper costs and efficiency in cargo movement.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh and Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia signed the deal at the Department of State in Washington on Thursday morning.

Mr Macharia said the deal “will facilitate expansion of air freight services by allowing airlines from both countries to set up and operate air cargo hubs in either country”.

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The amendment is expected to enter into force following an exchange of diplomatic notes. 

It has been applied on the basis of comity and reciprocity since it was negotiated on December 4, 2019.

“Specifically, the amendment allows US all-cargo airlines to fly between Kenya and a third nation without needing to stop in the United States, an important right if operating a cargo hub. Kenyan all-cargo carriers have reciprocal rights to serve the United States,” US department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

She added that the amendment further expands the strong economic and commercial partnership while creating new opportunities for all-cargo airlines, exporters and consumers. 

“It will fully open the Kenyan air cargo services market to US carriers, and represents one way in which the US government is delivering for US all-cargo carriers and American workers,” Ms Ortagus said.

“This amendment is also a step forward in liberalising the international civil aviation sector in Africa – a region that has the potential to be one of the fastest growing in the world.”

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