Kenya Airways said on Monday that it would increase its flight destinations in China from the current two to six as it seeks to tap into the growing passenger and cargo market between China and Africa.
"Our plan is to increase these destinations to six and then increase the frequencies of the two routes because the passenger demand is adequate," Titus Naikuni, the CEO of Kenya Airways, told Xinhua in Nairobi. Kenya Airways currently flies directly from Nairobi to Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
Naikuni said passenger and cargo business between Africa and China is one of the factors that would drive the growth of the airline.
"There is the obvious big shift as engagement between Africa and the East rather than the West is growing faster. We are positioning ourselves to take advantage of the emerging travel needs," he said.
Trade between Africa and China has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. Bilateral trade hit 163 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, up from 10.8 billion dollars in 2000, according to China's commerce ministry. In 2008, China surpassed the U.S. to become Africa's biggest trading partner.
Last month, Kenya Airways introduced a 120-tonne-cargo plane that will fly from Nairobi to China, to cater for increasing need for air cargo transport between the two nations.