The air transport sector in Kenya supports more than 600,000 jobs and contributes US$3.2bn or 5.1% to the country’s GDP, according to a new report by Oxford Economics on behalf of IATA.
Around 130,000 aircraft land and take off from one of Kenya’s five main airports every year. Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International is the key gateway and handled over 5.8 million passengers in 2014.
Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s regional vice president for the Middle East and Africa, said, “The study confirms the vital role that air transport plays in facilitating more than US$10bn in exports, US$4.4bn in foreign direct investment and around US$800,000 in inbound leisure and business tourism for Kenya. However, by adopting policies that ensure a competitive operating environment for the airlines, Kenya could reap even greater dividends from aviation.”
In separate research by the World Economic Forum, a Swiss nonprofit organization, Kenya was ranked 6th out of 37 African countries regarding the quality of its transport infrastructure, and 78th globally. However, the research also ranked the country 31st out of 37 in Africa for cost competitiveness in the air transport industry, based on air ticket taxes, airport charges and VAT.
“While Kenya’s air transport infrastructure ranks highly among African states, it is important that heavy fees, taxes and charges do not hold aviation back. We are very encouraged by the news that the Kenya Airports Authority has embarked on a study to review airport charges downward,” concluded Albakri.