Kenya Airways (KQ) and Congo Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for strategic cooperation that will see the two national carriers team up in areas of capacity sharing, aircraft maintenance, and training.
Included in the two-year agreement is a route and code-sharing provision aimed at expanding the carriers’ domestic, African, and international networks.
The strategic partnership was announced in a statement by the Kenyan government following the signing of the MoU in Kinshasa on April 22, 2021, on the last day of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day state visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kenyatta and his Congolese host, President Felix Tshisekedi, witnessed the signing by Kenya Airways Group chief executive Allan Kilavuka and his Congo Airways counterpart Désiré Balazire Bantu.
The agreement, which was signed late last week will make it easier for the Kenya Airways customers to access the Congolese capital of Kinshasa directly from Nairobi then fly to other African and international routes jointly.
Under such arrangement, Kenya Airways will be able to sell more seats sharing with Congo Airways, then expand its wings to cover more flight networks in Africa and outside the African continent, while offering their network coverage and markets in countries they operate.
“The cooperation between Kenya Airways and Congo Airways will cover technical capacity building, commercial cooperation, and human resource training. Part of this will cover cost-effective aircraft maintenance and technical expertise, particularly on the Embraer E-Jet fleet training in engineering, flight deck and crew, route codeshare opportunities, and other synergies,” Kilavuka said.
As a sign of strengthening bilateral ties, the countries, during the state visit, signed four framework cooperation agreements covering several economic sectors, security, defence, tourism, and maritime transport.
Kenyatta called for the harmonisation of visa regimes between Kenya and the DRC to ease the movement of people, goods, and services in the region.
The deal comes as airlines across the continent attempt to shore up resources as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause massive disruptions to the resumption of international air travel.
Last month, Kenya Airways reported its worst ever loss of about $330 million (Sh36.2 billion) dealing a major blow to its recovery efforts.