KQ gets nod to operate on new domestic routes

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KQ - Khartoum
PHOTO/COURTESY

Struggling national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has been given the nod by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to introduce new domestic flight routes.

The announcement was made in a gazette notice last week and it will see the airline introduce new flight routes to Wajir, Homabay, Lokichoggio, Isiolo and Maasai Mara on Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Boeing 737 and Boeing 8170 aircrafts with the operating license expiring after three years. It will similarly use the Embraer 190 and Embraer 145 airplanes at Jomo Kenyatta, Moi, Kisumu and Eldoret airports to fly on the new routes.

“Licence granted for three years, with effect from the 22 March 2019,” KCAA said in the notice.

The issuance of the license by KCAA signals increased competition on the routes that are generally operated by smaller airlines such as Silverstone Air and Fly 540. Currently, KQ operates domestically via its subsidiary Jambojet which plies the Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu routes as well as the Eldoret, Lamu, Malindi, and Ukunda routes that are popular with tourists and businessmen.

The impending introduction of new routes by KQ will also present customers with more air travel options which may lead to a reduction in price of air tickets.

The airline’s current charges of one way air tickets to the routes it operates in range from Ksh. 5,500 to Ksh. 12,500 depending on the season. Silverstone Air charges about Ksh.4,500 to Ksh.10,000 for a one-way ticket while Fly 540 requires customers to part with Ksh. 4,500 to Ksh. 9,500 for a one way ticket on its domestic routes.

The move by KQ is aimed at generating new revenue collection streams to increase the carrier’s financial position. According to the airline’s audited financial results for the year to December 31, 2018, its losses grew to Ksh7.5 billion ($75 million), from Ksh6.4 billion ($64 million) in 2017.

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