The national carriers of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya Airways and Congo Airways signed a two year partnership agreement on April 23, 2021 witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Congolese host President Felix Tshisekedi on the last day of President Kenyatta’s three-day State visit to DR Congo. The overall objectives of the visit was to usher-in viability and sustainability of the two airlines to bolster aviation ties between Kenya and The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The partnership agreement was signed in the capital of DR Congo, Kinshasa by Kenya Airways Group CEO Allan Kilavuka and his Congo Airways counterpart Désiré Balazire Bantu. The agreement will see the two national carriers partner in areas of mutual interest including aircraft maintenance, training and sharing of excess capacity.
A statement from the Kenyan presidency said that the two-year agreement, whose overarching objective is viability and sustainability of the airlines, is a route and code sharing provision to expand the carriers’ domestic, African, and international networks. President Uhuru Kenyatta is in the DRC to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries to boost his National Carrier and Congo Airways to strengthen passenger and cargo transport businesses between the two markets and the international network. Kenya is looking to leverage the DRC market by diversifying its export destinations, particularly when the COVID-19 pandemic-induced disruption has brought into visibility the need for deeper inter-regional trade. Kenya’s exports to the DRC were valued at $ 133 million in 2019. Last month, Kenya Airways reported its worst-ever loss of about $330 million, a major blow to its recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic.