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More flights between China and Africa to help deepen cooperation

18 June 2015, 21:55

Nairobi - The coming direct flight between Nairobi and Guangzhou will boost tourism and trade between China and Kenya, a senior official of China Southern Airlines said on Tuesday.

The flight is part of the efforts made by the platform to boost aviation cooperation with Africa set up in May by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The cooperation platform will integrate resources and share information on aviation development between China and Africa.

The Nairobi route will be the second one for China Southern Airlines to launch in Africa after its Mauritius flight in July 2014.

"Kenya has emerged as a major aviation, financial and commercial hub. It is against this backdrop that we are launching the Nairobi-Guangzhou route," said Wells Zheng, the airlines' senior Vice-President of Marketing.

The carrier will operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday flights between the two cities using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft that can carry 300 passengers.

Also read: UDF kicked out of Nairobi offices

Deepening business bonds has motivated China and African countries to establish more flights. The number of passengers flying between China and Africa is estimated to increase 15 percent every year.

By 2014, China has signed air transport agreement with 23 African nations, according to Chinese civil aviation authority. Eight African airlines have started transport service to China, with 52 flights scheduled every week.

During his visit to Africa in May last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing encouraged Chinese enterprises to form joint ventures with African counterparts to improve Africa's aviation industry.

China has since moved forward on co-founded airlines, technology and aircraft exports.

Last week, Mauritius and Chinese governments signed an agreement that will increase weekly flights along China-Mauritius-Africa route to 28.

Despite new flights, more effort will be made to boost aviation training and flight safety technology cooperation, said CAAC deputy director Wang Zhiqing.

China will provide African countries with 100 scholarships on aviation study, Wang Zhiqing, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China said when addressing the African civil Aviation Commission in Senegal two months after Premier Li's speech. He also promised to further cooperate with Africa on infrastructure, training and security.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said January it will give full cooperation to the move.

In April, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China delivered two China's domestic-made Xinzhou-60 aircraft to Cameroon, the second batch after 2012, and South Africa has signed deal to purchase 10 Xiaoying-500s in 2014.

In 2010, China's Hainan Airlines and China-Africa Development Fund set up a joint venture Africa World Airlines with Ghana's Social Security and National Insurance Trust, the first of its kind. The airline currently mainly focuses on domestic flight in Ghana, but has announced plans to expand to Nigeria, Togo and Cote d'Ivoire.

Zheng said China Southern Airline, the world's third largest, has the strength to serve Kenya and Africa as a whole based on its intensive route network in China.

He said the new non-stop route will offer a better travel solution to tourists and other customers, adding that the airline has been holding talks with the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to intensify the campaign to market Kenya in order to catch a sustainable volume of passengers.


- Xinhua


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