Interview: Chinese market a pillar of Kenya Airways' global business, says senior executive

Source:xinhua 2024-05-17

As the Chinese market is a competitive one with a promising future, it will always be a pillar of our global business, a senior executive of Kenya's national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has said.

"We see a good fiscal year ahead since China's aviation performance is robust, which has given us confidence in the Chinese market," Julius Thairu, chief commercial and customer officer with the airline, said during a recent interview with Xinhua.

After entering the Chinese market in 2005, the Kenyan carrier flies weekly routes from Nairobi to South China's Guangzhou city. Thairu said that next year, the 20th anniversary of the company's entering the Chinese market, a new direct flight from Nairobi to Beijing will be launched.

"From capital to capital, and from Kenya to other African countries, easier transportation will bring us closer," he said, adding that China remains Africa's largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years.

Kenya is China's largest trading partner in East Africa, while China is Kenya's largest trading partner and source of imports. With its rich tourism resources and eased visa policy for foreign visitors, Kenya has become a popular destination for Chinese tourists.

According to Thairu, KQ is partnering with several Chinese airlines on interline agreements, ground operations, and code sharing. It has been recruiting Chinese-speaking cabin crews to better serve the expanding market.

After visiting Beijing to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, Thairu has been to cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Changsha, and was amazed at how modern those cities are.

"After years of high-speed growth, I think China's economic development has entered a new phase, shifting to a high-quality mode," said Thairu.

With the ninth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in Beijing later this year, Thairu expressed his hope that more cooperation deals would be inked with Chinese airlines.

"KQ's footprint may extend to more places in China and across Africa," he said.


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