NAIROBI, Kenya: July 24 (Xinhua) — Kenya has identified 13 countries that it will negotiate for new air service agreements or review existing agreements by the end of the current financial year, a government official has.

Ministry of Transport Acting Director of Air Transport Nicholas Bodo told journalists in Nairobi that the move will allow Kenya expands its aviation links with the rest of the world.

“As part of government plans to expand international trade, it will negotiate or review air service agreements with 13 nations,” Bodo said Tuesday during a Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KESPA) transport stakeholders forum.

He said that the countries include Qatar, Djibouti, Gabon Mozambique, Mauritius, South Sudan, Namibia, Seychelles, Lebanon, Niger, Philippines, Algeria and Vietnam. Bodo said that in the last financial year, Kenya began bilateral air service agreements with Angola, Canada and Mexico but are yet to be concluded.

“Due to conflicting interests conclusion of agreements can take a long time resulting in delays in the commencement of services by interested air operators,” he said.

According to the ministry of transport, Kenya concluded bilateral air service agreements with Gambia, Zambia and Australia last year. Bodo said that in order to improve success in negotiations, the government will utilize the annual International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) air services negotiation forum.

Data from the government indicates that existing bilateral air services agreements with Nigeria, Kuwait, and Scandinavian countries, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Switzerland and India were reviewed and memoranda of Understanding signed have already been concluded.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director General Hilary Kioko said that his organization has spent over 41 million U.S. dollars in the past three years in order to modernize the country’s air communication systems.

He said that this is part of plans to upgrade the airports in order to achieve the highest aviation safety standards.

“These improvements will help Kenya achieve U.S. Federal Aviation Administration category one status that will permit Kenya airlines fly into all major airports of the world,” he said. (Xinhua)


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