Astral Aviation recently acquired a second freighter to cover the expanding market after it was granted permission to operate direct cargo flights to Israel. This makes Astral Aviation the second largest cargo operator in Africa after Ethiopian Airlines.
Astral Aviation will operate cargo freight between Kenya and Israel on the Nairobi-Tel Aviv route. This is the second high-capacity freighter that the carrier has received in the last two years, which will enable it to cover more routes. The new freighter will help in the evacuation of horticulture, where the capacity has been lacking.
Astral Aviation has in recent years ridden on its flexible products and its excellent customer services to remain ahead of the curve as it seeks to take the continental lead as attested by consistently being voted Africa’s best cargo airline.
Over the years, the company has grown from its central hub in Nairobi to set up 3 additional hubs across the world. These include Liege- Belgium, Johannesburg-South Africa and Dubai- United Arab Emirates.
In the long run, Astral Aviation intends to expand its network by creating more hubs and increasing its fleet to position the company as the most preferred air logistics provider in the African Continent, according to Sanjeev Gadhia, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Astral Aviation Ltd.
Today, the company boasts of a fleet of over 17 cargo Aircraft, which include the Boeing 747-400’s, Boeing 767-200’s, Boeing 727-200’s, McDonald Douglas DC9’s, and Fokker 50’s/27’s.
Having acquired Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and Air Service License (ASL) from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in the year 2001, the company would in 2006 get designation from the Ministry of Transport in Kenya as a cargo airline.
One of the major areas of Astral Aviation’s focus has been humanitarian relief logistics and the firm’s ability to operate in areas where other service providers cannot serve gives it a huge market advantage.
Today, Astral Aviation also offers a wide range of cargo services on both chartered and scheduled flights that include General Cargo uplift, Pharma Shipments including Covid-19 Medical Items -PPEs, Ventilators, Testing Kits and Vaccines.
It has also played a key role in airlifting perishable goods that includes flowers, vegetables, live, fresh and frozen fish and meat. Other services include express e-commerce cargoes, mining, oil and gas flight, peacekeeping ration, project cargo, consumer goods such as mobile phones, electronics and excess baggage.
“Astral Aviation’s operating principles revolve around the safety of its Aircraft and operations as well as providing reliable and cost-effective airfreight solutions using a combination of schedule and charter flights over its 21 years of existence,” Gadhia said.
To remain afloat in this highly competitive industry, which is as well highly regulated, Astral Aviation, according to Gadhia has maintained its edge by responding to the ever-changing customer needs by providing tailor-made solutions.
He added; “With a workforce of over 100 employees spread across our worldwide network, the company has hired a highly skilled workforce that ensures the firm delivers on its core mandate of safety and exceptional customer service.”
Airfreight played a significant role during the Covid-19 pandemic period, especially with the suspension of passenger flights because of various government restrictions. The air cargo service providers remained, sometimes, the only lifeline to deliver some of the most urgent products across the world.
To serve better and remain competitive, there is a need to develop airport infrastructure across the African continent, particularly cold storage facilities. It is interesting that out of the over 400+ airports in the continent; it is only less than 10 percent that can provide cold storage.
“This has been particularly brought to the fore during the Covid-19 pandemic, as vaccine logistics became a critical piece to resuming normalcy in our daily lives,” Gadhia said.
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