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Jamaica seeks to open its skies to Kenya airlines in growth plan

Jamaica is holding talks with Kenya and South Africa as it seeks to enter into Open Skies agreements with five African countries.

Jamaica Transport and Mining minister Mike Henry, who recently signed an Open Sky agreement with Canada, says that the new initiative is aimed at establishing direct flights to Jamaica from these countries.

Mr Henry was quoted by Jamaican media saying signing similar agreements with African states will enable travellers from the Asian and African continents to fly directly to the southern parts of the world without an in-transit visa.

“The outreach that I have here relates to the Open Skies, by flying people from the Far East across the African continent into Jamaica, Jamaica being the centrally located hub that distributes them across the globe, both here and backwards, because as I have said everyone who lives in those countries – India, Japan… all need an in-transit visa to mobilise,” Mr Henry was quoted as saying.

“It was therefore important for Jamaica to sign air service agreements with the countries that make that linkage grow,” he added.

Such an agreement will allow airlines from Kenya to operate unlimited number of flights to Jamaica and vice versa.

The move comes as Kenya seeks to boost trade and investment with Jamaica and other Caribbean nations.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in late November urged Latin American and Caribbean countries to invest in Kenya.

Mr Kenyatta said the changing global political and economic order such as Brexit calls for countries to forge new trade partnerships.

In a speech read on his behalf by Trade principal secretary for Chris Kiptoo at the first Latin America Caribbean Africa Trade Summit (LAC AFRICA) in Nairobi, the President said trade volumes between Kenya and the two regions were worryingly low.

“Whereas we have been seeing the Chinese, Indians, Americans and Europeans up their investments in Kenya, and also trade with these countries grow, investments and trade from Latin America have remained stagnant. It is time we put this to an end,” he said.

Source: Business Daily Africa

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