Logistics firm Astral Aviation has increased its flight frequency across the region following rising demand for air freight.
The firm increased trips to Juba and Mogadishu from October 12. The company will also service Hargeisa and Djibouti from Mogadishu.
Astral Aviation will now fly to Juba three times a week to cater to the increasing cargo volume as a result of the closure of Juba International Airport on weekends. The airport has been undergoing renovation since mid-August and will remain closed over the weekend until April.
The presence of peace-keeping troops in Somali has also informed the cargo airline’s decision to make two weekly flights to Mogadishu. In a press statement, the logistics company said that there has been an increase in the amount of cargo transported to Somalia.
“We have experienced high load factors on our key-routes, notably Juba, Mogadishu and Mwanza which has benefited from additional frequencies,” said Charles Simiyu, commercial director of Astral Aviation.
However, the airline will maintain its weekly flights from Nairobi to Dar-es-salaam, Zanzibar, Moroni, Entebbe, Kigali and Pemba, in addition to London Stansted and Liege, Belgium.
The company has also seen an increase in demand of humanitarian charter flights from Nairobi to Bangui and Sanaa in Yemen.
“We have been overwhelmed by demand for aid and relief cargoes from Nairobi and Djibouti to Sanaa in Yemen, and have performed in excess of 12 flights already. Astral will continue to offer “on-demand” charters with sufficient capacity on its fleet” said Collins Oloo, Astral’s charter manager.
Astral Aviation fleet in Nairobi hub consists of four cargo planes, Fokker 27, DC9, B727 and B747.
The aviation company is hoping to grow its revenue by tapping growth opportunities in the market. The company flies to over 50 destinations and earns revenue by charging for chartered and scheduled flights. It also gets allowance for handling dangerous and sensitive goods.
The move to increase flight numbers comes months after the cargo airline suspended its operations to Lokichar in August following a dip in oil exploration.