Air France-KLM, one of the world’s leading airline groups, has unveiled its new Africa headquarters in Nairobi. This move comes as part of the company’s strategic plan to reinforce its network and improve services across the African continent.
The inauguration ceremony, attended by government officials, industry leaders, and senior executives from Air France-KLM, marked a significant milestone for the airline’s operations in Africa.
The establishment of the regional headquarters in Nairobi reflects the company’s commitment to expanding its presence and enhancing its operations in the African market.
The new office will serve East, South, and West Africa, which has over 1 billion people. Its East, South, and West Africa Managing Director Marius Van Der said Nairobi’s choice was deliberate since Kenya is considered East Africa as well as Africa’s business gateway.
Air France KLM executives said on Friday that they believe there is a good opportunity for the company to grow more in the main Africa region. They see a lot of people wanting to travel there, so it’s an important place for the company.
“We think there are greater opportunities to take advantage of, especially here in Kenya,” said Marius van der Ham, the regional manager for East and Southern Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, at a ceremony to open a new office in Kenya’s capital.
According to him, the region is the fifth largest among the group’s 12 regional operations. The regions ahead of it in size are North America, Greater China, Korea, and Japan.
According to van der Ham, Air France KLM has already made its Nairobi-Europe flights bigger by 14% this year.
They now have two flights every day from Nairobi to Amsterdam and Paris. Before the pandemic, they had one daily flight to Amsterdam and five flights per week to Paris.
To meet the increased demand during the busy summer travel season, the airline is adding three more flights on the Paris-Johannesburg route.
Additionally, the company has started new flights between Paris and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Air France-KLM Vice President (VP) Long-haul Zoran Jelkic said that Africa is very important for the company. However, the executives did not mention the amount of money they will invest in expanding their services.
Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kipchumba Murkomen, who presided over the occasion, commended the company for selecting Kenya as its African headquarters and guaranteed them unwavering support from the government.
According to Murkomen, the aviation industry plays a significant role in Kenya’s economy, contributing $1.6 billion to the country’s GDP. Additionally, the arrival of tourists brings in another $1.6 billion, which accounts for 5% of the nation’s GDP.
The CS emphasized the importance of Air France-KLM in Kenya’s aviation sector, highlighting the crucial role it plays in connecting the country with Europe and North America. These connections facilitate the transportation of goods and people, contributing to the growth and development of Kenya.
The CS expressed confidence in Kenya’s investment potential by highlighting the opening of Air France-KLM’s regional office in the country. This move demonstrates the country’s positive outlook and attractiveness to investors.
The new region now consists of seven markets, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Djibouti, South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana, with the addition of South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana as new markets.
The new office is situated in Merchant Square on Riverside Drive and will be headed by Mr Marius van der Ham, who will serve as the Group’s General Manager (GM).
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