Jun 16, 2017: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released new data showing that the air transport sector in Kenya supports some 620,000 jobs including tourism-related employment while contributing $3.2 billion or 5.1 percent of the East African nation's GDP. These findings are conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of IATA.

Muhammad Ali Albakri, regional vice president for the Middle East & Africa, IATA, said, "The study confirms the vital role that air transport plays in facilitating over $10 billion in exports, some $4.4 billion in foreign direct investment and around $800,000 in inbound leisure and business tourism for Kenya. However, by adopting policies that ensure a competitive operating environment for the airlines, Kenya could reap even greater dividends from aviation."

Infrastructure, ease of travel and cost competitiveness are the three main components which play a vital role in the development of the region. According to executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum, Kenya's transport infrastructure quality score places the country 6th out of 37 African countries surveyed and 78th globally. Kenya ranks 10th out of 37 African countries for visa openness. Kenya ranks 31st out of 37 for cost competitiveness in the air transport industry, based on air ticket taxes, airport charges and VAT.

Around 130,000 aircraft land and take off from one of Kenya's five main airports every year. Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International is the key gateway and handled over 5.8 million passengers in 2014.

"While Kenya's air transport infrastructure ranks highly among African states, it is important that heavy fees, taxes and charges do not hold aviation back. We are very encouraged by the news that the Kenya Airports Authority has embarked on a study to review Airport charges downwards," concluded Albakri.

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