DIRECT US – KENYA FLIGHTS WILL BOOST THE AIR CARGO INDUSTRY IN KENYA

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The Kenya air cargo industry stands to experience tremendous growth should direct US – Kenya flights get commissioned. The flights would offer an advantage over the current connecting flights to various airport hubs all over the globe. Coming fast against the back drop of the recently concluded Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 (GES 2015) there were many expectations from the United States goody bag issued by the President Barack Obama, amongst these expectations were the commissioning of the direct flights.

Jared Oswago, the Divisional Manager at Siginon Aviation adds; “In Africa currently, there are direct flights between Senegal and South Africa to various US cities. Bringing these US – Kenya direct flights is bound to attract other airlines and more business to Kenya and the region. It is likely that a direct US –Nairobi flight is likely to operate between Nairobi and New York or Washington DC.”.

Kenya is largely importing medical engineering equipment, industrial products, air craft engines and chemicals while largely exports textiles and perishable products such as flowers and vegetables. The export of textiles has largely been supported under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative through the various Export Processing Zones (EPZ). Jared adds; “Currently, we’re exporting cargo to the US through various connecting flights. The multiple connections make the trip longer and compromises on on-time performance as there may be connection delays, missed connections   handling in the hubs exposes the cargo to mishandling which at times may reduce or degrade the cargo quality. The cases of pilferage are also prone in the connections.”

 Security concerns have also made it imperative for the players to adopt heightened security measures in their operations as well as evolve into a ‘know your customer’ regime. This involves tracing the cargo right from its source. In the case of perishables cargo this involves interrogating farm produce from where it’s grown or the origin of the meats up to where it reaches the final customer. As a response to market demands to ensure high security levels in air cargo operations Siginon Aviation recently launched operations in its new USD 10 million air cargo terminal in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi. The state of the art terminal meets global security standards and has been tailor made to satisfy customer air cargo demands. These stringent security conditions ensure that the cargo ferried from the source up to the final consumer remain safe and fit for consumption. Jared asserts “Our new operation at Siginon Aviation has adopted the latest security technology such as cargo screening machines and located on the airport apron to ensure high security. Our staff undergoes rigorous safety and security training to enable them to professionally handle flights bearing various cargo including those considered dangerous goods or DGR. We have also received various international certifications such as RA3 set by the European Union and IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operators (ISAGO) to highlight our compliance to global safety and security standards in our operations.” Siginon Aviation has been passed to handle various flights plying the US – Nairobi route.

The Siginon Aviation terminal further has placed physical barriers such as manned gates and 24/7 CCTV surveillance as well as access control to ensure the warehouses remain ‘sterile’ and restricts access to only authorized individuals and vehicles. These measures have served as a deterrent to criminal elements and have boosted customer confidence in the services offered.

The Siginon Aviation perishables centre comprises of a unique express corridor that maintains perishable cargo in the specified cool temperatures up to a few minutes prior to loading on to the air craft. Jared concludes “This is a unique service we offer as most of our competitors would expose the cargo to the unfriendly temperatures while awaiting loading onto the air craft. However, our express corridors ensure that the temperatures are maintained as specified and preserve the quality and condition of the perishable cargo until it is loaded in the aircraft”. The express cool corridor can take up to 100 units of palletized cargo and assures her customers that the cargo is maintained in the required

temperatures.

Siginon Aviation forms part of the other 4 air cargo terminals available in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Siginon also has another air cargo terminal located at the Eldoret International Airport.