JamboJet set to offer International flights

JamboJet, Kenya’s budget carrier has sought approval from the government to begin international flights. The airline which is fully owned by Kenya Airways provides low-cost air travel within Kenyan borders and plans to actualize this by leasing more lanes in the next two years.

Jambojet, which carried 600,000 passengers last year using a fleet of Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q-400 planes, will consider possible international destinations after it gets approval. “We have a long list of routes we could operate,” said CEO William Hondius adding that the flights would be in coordination with its parent airline to avoid overlap in their travel destinations.

Jambojet offers no-frills flights to popular destinations such as the coastal city of Mombasa. It charges for extras like drinks and food. It started operations with leased planes but it has since started operating its own flights, a move expected to further lower costs. Leasing of more planes will help address challenges and add more flights and destinations to JamboJets list. The company is also keen to avoid a repeat of cancellation and delays experienced last December during the peak holiday season.

According to Mr. Williams, about a third of its customers have not flown before and are enticed by the relatively cheaper price. With a growing middle class, this is expected to grow.

Elections expected in August this year are however dampening demand due to fears of violence erupting. “People are a little reluctant to book at this moment. Forward bookings for August do not go very far,” Hondius said.

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This will likely affect KQ’s earnings as it releases its earnings report. The company has been making huge losses in the last couple of years which have been largely blamed on the depreciation of the shilling, volatility of fuel prices and maintenance costs of parked planes the airline is set to dispose off. Operation pride, the company’s reviving plan is expected to bring the national carrier back to profitability.

Gathoni Kuria

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