Astral Aviation (Astral) inaugurated its maiden flight from Nairobi to Tel Aviv on 5th June on its Boeing 757 freighter which will operate on the new scheduled route.
The colorful inauguration ceremony held at Astral’s Hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was attended by the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya, Hon Mithika Linturi, and the Israeli Ambassador in Kenya, Michael Lotem, along with dignitaries and clients from the private sector.
Astral Aviation CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia, announced at the ceremony that the direct flight from Nairobi to Tel Aviv will reduce the transit time from 24 hours to five hours for Kenyan perishables which previously were being routed via other hubs such as Istanbul, Addis Ababa, and Dubai.
Sanjeev Gadhia also said the new flight will ensure that perishables arrive fresh and of the highest quality, while on the return it will enable exports from Israel to reach Africa via its Nairobi Hub – opening new opportunities and new markets for Africa and Israel.
Addressing the Astral team during the ceremony, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Hon Mithika Linturi said: “With the support of the Ministry of Transport you are now able to take us to Israel.
“I want to most sincerely congratulate you for the job you’ve done and I want to ask you to increase capacity so we can export even more products to other countries.”
The launch of these cargo flights marks a significant milestone in strengthening the economic ties between Kenya and Israel.
“I promise you that the government of Israel and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not only support your process of getting more products to get your cargo full but also to get a full cargo from Tel Aviv to Kenya,” said Israeli Ambassador Michael Lotem.
This endeavor will facilitate the efficient transportation of perishables (notably pineapples and vegetables), which will foster mutually beneficial partnerships.
Two such partnerships are between Astral Aviation and El Al Cargo and Challenge Airlines, which will enable them to feed African cargoes from their respective global networks to Astral’s Hub in Nairobi via Tel Aviv.
Astral Aviation will increase its frequency from a weekly to twice weekly service and will upgrade to the Boeing 767 Freighter.
Astral Aviation is being represented by Globespeed Ltd and is being handled by Maman / Laufer Aviation in Tel Aviv.