A government deal allowing Ethiopian airlines to operate passenger planes grounded due to COVID-19 to ship cargo from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Europe and Asia is being contested by Kenya Airways.
Since the government has banned both local and international passenger travel, this only leaves cargo as the only source of revenue for airlines.
The deal will give Ethiopian Airlines an upper hand over Kenya Airways in these tough times when coronavirus has groung all passenger flights.
The Ministry of Transport allowed the Ethiopian Airlines to use their passenger aircrafts to carry cargo from Nairobi and Mombasa to Europe and Asia.
“Reference is made to your letter… this is to advise you that approval is granted to Ethiopian Airlines to operate as cargo flights from April 3 to October 25,” reads part of a letter signed by Director of Air Services, Nicholas Bodo to Ethiopian Airlines.
Kenya Airways is worried that Ethiopian Airlines will take a huge chunk of the business of shipping flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables like green beans and peas as well as meat that have become increasingly scarce in Europe as the coronavirus pandemic hampers the global movement of produce. reported the daily nation.Business Daily
The current Chief Executive of Kenya Airways Allan Kilavuka said that they were not consulted on how they will be affected by the deal.
“We have objected the move to have Ethiopian Airlines use their passenger flights for cargo business in Kenya because we were not consulted on the impact that this would have on our business,” said Mr Kilavuka
Since the suspension of passenger flights, cargo is the only thing that will help Kenya Airways remain afloat but the entrant of Ethiopian Airlines into the Kenyan space will only drive the national carrier Kenya Airways into deeper financial problems.