NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – The Ministry of Sports and Kenya Airways have entered a one-year renewable partnership that will see the national carrier become the official airline for all Kenyan teams travelling outside the country.
The partnership was signed on Thursday morning at the ministry headquarters and Principle Secretary Peter Kaberia says in the long run, the partnership will help the ministry and sports federations save on costs as well as boost better travel planning.
“Kenya for a long time has had all these federations going out and we have not had an opportunity to have an official carrier. It is a great milestone for us and the members of the federations are excited. We will no longer wait till the last minute to make ticket bookings because we will have the entire schedule with Kenya Airways,” Kaberia said.
The Harambee Starlets Under-20 team will be the first beneficiaries of the partnership as they will be flying out to Addis Ababa on September 15 for a World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia.
The national men and women’s hockey teams will be next on line as they travel to Egypt next month for World Cup qualifiers.
Kenya Airways Regional General manager Grant Onyango added that they were pleased with the signing of the year-long agreement, also pointing out they will give the best possible rates.
“We are proud to partner with the ministry to fly all Kenyan teams to their destinations. They won’t also have to be worried about destinations we don’t fly to because we are a member of sky team and have a very good network to cover all their travels,” Onyango declared.
The move is set to save federations the hustle and bustle of procuring tickets and also increase accountability especially after the happenings last year prior to the Rio Olympics.
Athletics Kenya, one of the most frequent flying federations received the partnership with open arms, but AK boss Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei reiterated that the national carrier should ensure the rates are pocket friendly.
“It is very exciting for all of us. KQ flies the Kenyan flag and it will be great for our athletes who also fly the Kenyan flag everywhere to travel with them. When you fly athletes with different airline, it looks a bit awkward but now this gives athletes impetus to get there with a lot of pride and confidence,” Tuwei noted.
“I hope it will be cheaper because there are other airlines which are cheaper than KQ and sometimes when we go through agents, you find it is cheaper than going directly to KQ. I hope all this has been taken care of,” he added.