A Kenya Airways ticketing office at Tea Room area near the intersection of Accra and River roads has sent a signal of the growing significance of the informal economy to big companies seeking to grow their top line.
The Tea Room area is a hotbed of informal traders, who import vehicle spare parts, stationery, mobile phones and accessories, building materials and computers, among other goods.
The traders frequent favourite import destinations such as China, Dubai and Turkey, which offer relatively cheaper goods.
“Tea Room is a prime location, accessible and a central point for a large number of small-scale entrepreneurs in town. This shop will therefore offer opportunities to traders for direct interaction with our staff and this will enable provision of tailor-made services to this market segment,” said Kenya Airways managing director Mbuvi Ngunze in a statement.
The retail shop, which will be jostling for space with the many public transport booking booths located in the area, will serve as a new point for sales, ticketing, customer service and sale of KQ holiday packages to thousands of traders doing business from the central business district, Kamukunji and Ngara areas.
The shop will be the seventh for Kenya Airways in the country.
Mr Ngunze said the national carrier is investing in new outlets to reach all market segments and to continuously engage with its customers.
Commenting on the launch of the new shop, Florence Kimaiya, a research analyst at Genghis Capital, said the move will help KQ sell tickets for its domestic and regional flights among local merchants in their pursuit for regional trade and travel, more so after Jambojet was awarded an operating licence for international flights.
“The national carrier would also be looking to shore up cargo business taking into consideration the vast merchant businesses operating within the locale who largely import wares from international markets,” she added.
Erick Musau, a research analyst at Standard Investment Bank, said the office will help Kenya Airways to reach the mass market available in the downtown area.
“In the recent past a lot of banks have opened branches in downtown area, a clear indicator that there is a huge market coming from traders. It makes sense for Kenya Airways to tap into that market too, their target market being traders who travel regularly to buy stock,” Mr Musau said.
The national carrier has direct flights to Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Guangzhou and these destinations serve as connection points to cities in Asia and the Far East.