The cost of exporting goods by air freight from East Africa has fallen as the number of flights from the region has increased.
It is encouraging for exporters who recently complained that airlines, which had lost passengers amid lockdown, had doubled their charges for air cargo.
In April, cargo flights from Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport had dropped from 45 planes, carrying 210 tonnes per day, to just two aircraft transporting 35 tonnes. This is according to the airport’s ground handling service National Aviation.
In recent weeks exporters complained that airlines across the region had reacted to the low capacity, by doubling the cost of air freight to Europe, to about $7(£5) a kg at all airports.
However over the last two weeks there have been more flights – with Nairobi handling 12 and an average of six a day at Entebbe. The trend is also reported at other East African airports.
Kenya Airways, which manages Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, says capacity has increased, making demand easier to meet, which has led to air cargo charges being reduced to levels last seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Frequent air cargo operators in the region include the Middle East carriers Emirates Etihad and Qatar, the European airlines Lufthansa, British Airways and Martinair, plus the African airlines Ethiopian, and Rwandair.