With summertime fast approaching in the United Kingdom (UK), Kenya Airways (KQ) has announced plans to resume direct flights from Nairobi to London after an almost two months hiatus.
According to the airline, the Nairobi-London route – which was put off in April following a government directive to prohibit flights to or from Kenya to the UK – will resume operations on June 26, 2021.
“We are starting with one at the moment, but we shall add more frequencies if we realise that there is a rise in forward bookings,” KQ director of corporate communication Dennis Kashero said in a statement according to the Business Daily.
The announcement was made on Friday by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Gilbert Kibe after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the resumption of services. Kenya’s verdict to suspend Nairobi-London flights followed the UK’s decision to include the East African nation in its travel red list owing to Covid-19 containment concerns.
The Covid-19 pandemic greatly affected KQ’s business in the last financial year, with the airline’s losses nearly tripling to Ksh. 36.2 billion up from Ksh. 12.98 billion recorded a year earlier owing to reduced demand for flights in the period. Passenger revenue similarly dropped by 67.5 percent to Ksh. 33.7 billion while passenger numbers fell by 1.8 million. Total income also dipped by 58.9 percent to Ksh. 52.8 billion.
“We lost the summer booking during the review period and this is the time when we make the bulk of our money,” the airline said at a recent investors briefing.
With the lifting of the ban, summer offers KQ a great opportunity to improve its business since the period is often characterized by increased traffic owing to amplified demand for travel by European tourists. UK tourists are among the top foreign visitors to Kenya, making up a significant revenue contribution to the country’s travel and tourism sectors.