The air transport sector in Kenya supports around 620,000 jobs, which includes tourism-related employment. In addition aviation contributes US$3.2 billion or 5.1% of the East African nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
These are the findings contained in report ‘The Importance of Air Transport to Kenya’ compiled by Oxford Economics on behalf of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Responding to the report findings the IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa, Muhammad Ali Albakri, said “the study confirms the vital role that air transport plays in facilitating over US$10 billion in exports, some US$4.4 billion in foreign direct investment and around US$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”.
The report says airlines, airport operators, airport on-site enterprises (restaurants and retail), aircraft manufacturers, and air navigation service providers employed 18,000 people in Kenya in 2014. In addition, by buying goods and services from local suppliers the sector supported another 130,000 jobs. On top of this, the sector is estimated to have supported a further 58,000 jobs by paying wages to its employees, some or all of which are subsequently spent on consumer goods and services.
Foreign tourists arriving by air to Kenya, who spend their money in the local economy, are estimated to have supported an additional 410,000 jobs in 2014. …and generates wealth. The air transport industry is estimated to have supported a $1.5 billion gross value added contribution to GDP in Kenya in 2014. Spending by foreign tourists supported a further $1.7 billion gross value added contribution to the country’s GDP. This means that 5.1 percent of the country’s GDP is supported by the air transport sector and foreign tourists arriving by air.
According to the World Economic Forum, Kenya’s transport infrastructure quality score places the country 6th out of 37 African countries surveyed and 78th globally. Kenya also ranked:
- 10th out of 37 African countries for visa openness;
- 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 into and out of the country.
The ten most popular direct flight links:
- United Arab Emirates
- South Africa
- South Sudan
The report says the air transport sector’s ability to connect Kenya to emerging countries and fast growing cities can help drive economic growth. There are 6 direct flight destinations among the ten fastest growing countries in the world as measured by GDP growth and 9 direct flight destinations among the 20 fastest growing countries. There are 20 direct weekly flights among the ten fastest growing cities in the world as measured by GDP growth and 41 direct weekly flights among the 100 fastest growing cities.
Arrivals by continent
Europe and the Middle East are the largest sources of arrivals to Kenya after Africa. In 2014, 1 million passengers arrived to Kenya from Europe (20.6 percent of the total) and 500,000 passengers arrived from the Middle East (9.4 percent).