Kenya, Israel to resume direct flights
29 November 2013, 09:37
Nairobi - Direct flights between Kenya and Israel could resume in 2014, Israel's Ambassador to Kenya Gil Haskel said on Thursday,
Haskel told journalists in Nairobi that the direct air links will boost commercial and economic between the two countries.
"Negotiations between the two governments are ongoing and we hope that direct flights will commence in 2014," Haskel said during a media briefing on the upcoming Kenya-Israeli expo which will run from Dec. 8 to 12. "However, the flights will have to be commercially viable before they commence," he said.
Haskel added that the direct flights will bring business from both Israel and Eastern Europe to Kenya. Direct flights between the two countries stopped in 2002. Haskel noted that over 10,000 Israeli tourists come to Kenya last year.
According to the envoy, bilateral trade between Kenya and Israel reached 150 million U.S. dollars in 2012. "Israel exported goods worth 120 million dollars while Kenya's exports were 30 million dollars," he said.
Haskel said that his country will work closely in order to reduce the huge trade imbalance in favor of Israel. "Israel is committed to improving the welfare of Kenya economically," he added.
Israeli's key exports included agricultural technology products, home security and fertilizer while Kenya exported artifacts and food products. The envoy said that devolution will provide an opportunity for Kenya to bring services closer to the people.
National Economic and Social Council Director Leonard Kimani said that Kenya is exploring products that it can export to Israel. "The Middle East country is very much interested in our cultural products," he said. Kimani noted that Kenya will collaborate with Israel in the technology sector.