Kenya’s national airline, will on Thursday launch direct flights to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in a move that is likely to boost trade between the two East African nations.

Kenya Airways, which made history last week, with an inaugural direct flight to the United States, says the Mogadishu decision has been fuelled by increased demand on the route.

“The addition of this route to our network demonstrates our commitment to improving connectivity on the African continent, while creating new opportunities for corporates, investors, traders and tourists”, said Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz in a statement.

With the demand for travel by traders to Somalia through Nairobi increasing, the launch of this route is expected to ease travel between the two cities that are the focal points of business in the two countries and spur commercial activities.

The announcement comes hardly a week after Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airways, made its first made its first landing in the Somali capital Mogadishu after 40 years absence.

‘‘With the demand for travel by traders to Somalia through Nairobi increasing, the launch of this route is expected to ease travel between the two cities that are the focal points of business in the two countries and spur commercial activities,’‘ said the CEO.

Somalia is an important trading partner for Kenya, becoming the third largest destination for the latter’s exports, after an increase of 33.5% was registered in the first half of 2018.

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