As of January 1, the Kenyan Airports Authority (KAA) has a new policy in place which will possibly adversely impact the horticulture trade. Flowers and vegetables will only be allowed onto airplanes for transport if they first pass one of the airport’s four transit ports, making an increase in the cost of air freight quite probable.
All export products which are to be flown out of the country by way of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will be subject to the new requirements. The Kenyan Airports Authority indicates it has decided upon the new rules out of safety concerns.
As it currently stands, three quarters of the horticultural produce which passes through Nairobi airport bypasses the transit ports. Forwarders involved in the on-site distribution of the pallets of goods often do so by way of side-roads, passing only a simple gate. As the KAA is unable to guarantee the safety of the shipments because of these informal transport routes, those alternative paths will be closed as of the new year.
The move comes at a time when the KAA has put in a lot of effort in order to achieve A-status for the Jomo Kenyatta airport. That coveted hallmark would make it possible for flights from the United States to land in Nairobi and vice versa, opening up the possibility of Kenyan flower exports to the city of Miami.
Delta Airlines was already negotiating with the Kenyan authorities about realizing such a scenario two years ago. The company eventually shelved those plans, because of safety concerns over the airport in Nairobi.