Touring Brazilian President visits Kenya and Tanzania

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(eTN) Following the premature exit of the Brazilian team from the recently-concluded FIFA World Cup, their President, Lula da Silva, toured Eastern Africa on state visits – no longer being able to sit in the stadia and watch his national team. While in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam last week, talks also focused on, besides trade cooperation, aviation access between Brazil and East Africa, with Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport the most likely choice, should indeed air traffic be kick started again.

Until a few years ago, Varig – the erstwhile international Brazilian airline – connected Nairobi to Brazil, but at present, none of the new carriers have even considered this route, according to reliable aviation sources in Nairobi, to fly to East Africa.

The visit by the Brazilian president also had added significance to the aviation sector, as Kenya is presently the largest user of Embraer aircraft, which are, of course, produced in Brazil, operating three owned and two leased E170 jets and having just added two more E 190 jets through a lease arrangement via an American aircraft leasing company.

Visitors between the two countries presently can only connect via Johannesburg on the most direct route or otherwise have to go through European or other waypoints outside Africa.