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Kenya Airways plans direct flights to China's Guangzhou

NAIROBI, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Airways said Wednesday it will launch direct flights in November to China's commercial city of Guangzhou to reap from the growing Sino-African relations.

The airline CEO Titus Naikuni said its Boeing 777-300ER will be introduced for the non-stop weekly flight on Nov. 19 between the Kenyan capital Nairobi and Guangzhou.

Naikuni said the Asian nation has emerged as a key trading partner for Africa, adding that Kenya Airways' planned flights to Guangzhou will build on this connection.

"Our direct flights to Guangzhou seek to build on this relationship in order to make a contribution towards sustainable development of Africa, which is in line with our core purpose as a company," Naikuni said in a statement released in Nairobi.

Kenya Airways recently inked an agreement with China Eastern Airlines to enable the KQ code share on daily services between Bangkok and Shanghai. China Eastern Airlines will code share on daily Kenya Airways service between Bangkok and Nairobi under the deal.

The national carrier hopes to strengthen its presence in China by offering better connection options to its passengers from Africa. Its association with China Eastern Airlines gives it an opportunity to offer customers a seamless connection to and from China.

Kenya Airways is seeking to more than double the number of its aeroplanes to 115 in the next 10 years as part of its fleet and destination expansion.

The airline had earlier announced plans to increase its destinations to China from the current two to six to tap the potential of passenger and cargo travel between China and Africa.

Naikuni said the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is due in Nairobi in mid-October and will commence revenue service in mid-November.

The airline which flies to over 40 destinations in Africa currently flies directly from Nairobi to Guangzhou via Bangkok, daily.

Naikuni said the direct flights will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays departing from Nairobi just after midnight while maintaining the current flights to Guangzhou via Bangkok of four times a week.

"The new direct flights to Guangzhou would facilitate interaction between the two regions by opening up Africa to China through its robust connections from Nairobi. The airline flies to over 40 destinations in Africa," Naikuni said.

"Together with code-share partner, China Southern, whose hub is Guangzhou, Kenya Airways will be able to service most parts of China. China Southern is the biggest carrier in Asia."

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