The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new data showing that the air transport sector in Kenya supports some 620,000 jobs including tourism-related employment, while contributing US$3.2 billion or 5.1% of the East African nation’s GDP.
These findings are among the highlights of The Importance of Air Transport to Kenya (pdf) study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of IATA.
“The study confirms the vital role that air transport plays in facilitating over US$10 billion in exports, some US$4.4 billion in foreign direct investment and around US$800,000 in inbound leisure and business tourism for Kenya. However, by adopting policies that ensure a competitive operating environment for the airlines, Kenya could reap even greater dividends from aviation,” said Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa, who is making his first visit to Africa in his new capacity.
Infrastructure, Ease of Travel and Cost Competitiveness Are Vital:
- According to executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum, Kenya’s transport infrastructure quality score places the country 6th out of 37 African countries surveyed and 78th globally
- Kenya ranks 10th out of 37 African countries for visa openness
- Kenya ranks 31st out of 37 for cost competitiveness in the air transport industry, based on air ticket taxes, airport charges and VAT
Around 130,000 aircraft land and take off from one of Kenya’s five main airports every year. Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International is the key gateway and handled over 5.8 million passengers in 2014.
“While Kenya’s air transport infrastructure ranks highly among African states, it is important that heavy fees, taxes and charges do not hold aviation back. We are very encouraged by the news that the Kenya Airports Authority has embarked on a study to review Airport charges downwards,” concluded Albakri.
During his visit to Nairobi, Mr. Albakri will be meeting with key industry stakeholders including officials from Kenya’s government, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Airways and IATA’s regional sister body, the African Airlines’ Association.
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