Astral Aviation has resumed cargo flights from Sharjah, UAE to Eldoret, Kenya.

Astral Aviation will operate regular cargo flights from Sharjah to Eldoret using Boeing 767 freighter with a capacity of 40 tonnes w.e.f March 14, 2024, according to Mustwafa Murad, Commercial Manager, Astral Aviation.

"In partnership with African Salihiya, Astral Aviation will perform a dedicated flight from Sharjah to Eldoret on a weekly basis with plans to increase flights to twice weekly. The outbound flight from Nairobi to Sharjah carries perishables from Kenya such as flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat bound for the UAE," says Patricia Odida, Chief Commercial Officer, Astral Aviation.

Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO, Astral Aviation acknowledged the support from the Government of Kenya for the resumption of flights that were suspended for over four months.

Being the only local cargo carrier to operate to Eldoret, Astral Aviation will work with perishables exporters in the Rift Valley region to promote exports to the Middle East via Eldoret Airport once the challenges are overcome, notably the availability of jet fuel and cold storage facility at the airport, says a LinkedIn post from Astral.

"Astral is considering flights to Eldoret from Istanbul, Guangzhou and Mumbai with plans to provide multi-modal solutions from Eldoret to Uganda, Rwanda, D R Congo and South Sudan."

During the reception event held at Eldoret Airport, Caleb Kositany, Chairman, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) said the initiative is expected to significantly benefit the economy, opening up new business opportunities and strengthening the region's position in global trade networks.

"Air cargo is an integral component of the aviation industry," he added, acknowledging the importance of public-private partnerships in developing and advancing the Authority's projects.

Eldoret International Airport is uniquely positioned to serve as a hub for agribusiness exports with its two warehouses capable of handling over 100 tonnes of dry cargo, KAA said in a LinkedIn post. "The airport's location and favourable climatic conditions make it an ideal gateway for exporting agricultural produce, including cut flowers, French beans and avocados, among others. This resumption of cargo flights is not just a win for the aviation sector but a boost for the region's agricultural stakeholders, promising enhanced market access and growth opportunities."

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