Kenya, Netherlands Agree to Two Flights a Week Amid Covid-19

An aeroplane mid-air
An aeroplane mid-air

Kenya and the Netherlands have agreed to two flights a week to foster economic ties amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement released by the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, dated April 20, 2020, the European nation expressed its desire to maintain strong trade links with Kenya.

"Starting Tuesday, April 21, and Sunday, April 26, Air France KLM Martinair, Cargo will operate two weekly cargo flights bringing 45-50 tons of cargo from Nairobi to Amsterdam," The statement read in part.

Medics conduct public health emergency drill at JKIA on October 19, 2016
Medics conduct public health emergency drill at JKIA on October 19, 2016

"For this purpose, KLM Boeing 777-300 passenger aircraft will be used with ample belly capacity. This comes in addition to the existing full freighter flights Air France KLM Martinair is regularly operating," it adds.

The exports will be dominated by cut flowers and other perishable products, inclusive of vegetables and fruits from Kenya to the Netherlands.

The deal signifies a clear boost for the country's agricultural and horticulture sector and the

Kenyan economy at large as it will enable more exports.

The Netherlands has long been at the forefront of investing in Kenya and promoting increased exports from Nairobi to Amsterdam and beyond. The European nation has for the last five years in a row been ranked as the largest European market for Kenyan exports. 

It’s also the leading destination for Kenya’s cut flowers, vegetables and fruits.

Trade statistics for the period between 2014 and 2018 indicate that Kenya’s exported goods worth Ksh 216.4 billion to the Netherlands against imports worth Kshs 94.7 billion. Kenya thus enjoys a favourable trade balance of Ksh 121.7 billion with the EU country.

Other than the cargo flight, the Netherlands organised a repatriation flight for European and Dutch tourists stranded in the country. The flight left JKIA, Nairobi on Sunday, April 19, with 300 people on board.

"This repatriation flight was made possible due to excellent cooperation with the European Union Delegation in Kenya and the Government of Kenya. The aeroplane only flew passengers out of the country and did not bring any people to Nairobi," the statement read in part.

The EU nation has maintained key diplomatic ties with Kenya, even in the fight against Covid-19. 

"In light of Corona, the Netherlands will, for instance, make Ksh 11.5 billion (100 million Euros) available to fight the Covid-19  pandemic in developing countries. This comes on top of the Ksh 575 million (5 million Euros) that the Netherlands made available to the World Health Organization and Ksh 92 million (800,000 Euros) to the Red Cross at the start of the crisis,

"The money is directed towards preventing the further spread of the virus, towards humanitarian aid and to further social and economic aid, including in Kenya. More support activities are to be undertaken," the statement concludes.

2020 marks the 56th anniversary of Kenya's bilateral relations with the Netherlands.

File image of a Kenya Airways plane
A photo of a Kenya Airways plane.
Photo/Kenya Airways
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