Fly540 set to start direct JKIA-Ukunda flights


Fly540 staff board a plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Fly540 will on Friday start direct flights to Ukunda from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), increasing competition on a route served by carries such as Safarilink and Jambojet

The daily flights, targeting leisure travellers on the coastal circuit, will leave JKIA at 3.30pm to arrive in Ukunda at 4.30pm. The flight will then leave Ukunda airstrip at 5pm to arrive in Nairobi at 6.10pm.

Passenger on the route will pay an average fare of Sh10,540 on a one-way ticket on Friday, which is cheaper compared to its competitors on the route.

Jambojet is charging Sh14,900 on a one-way ticket between Nairobi and Ukunda on Friday morning. It also charges Sh13,900 one-way between the two destinations on its afternoon flight on the same day.

Safarilink Aviation on the other hand charges Sh19,250 for one-way ticket on its morning flight on Friday between Nairobi and Ukunda. It also charges Sh14,300 on Friday on a one-way ticket on its afternoon flight between the two destinations.

“We are launching scheduled flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi to Ukunda on Friday,” Fly 540 marketing manager Beverley Hooper told the Business Daily in an interview yesterday.

“There has been increased loads of passengers flying to Ukunda which is the reason we are starting these flights.”

The carrier, she said will deploy a Dash8 Q100 or a Dash 8 Q 300 on the route that is also served by East African Aviation.

The aircraft types can carry between 35 and 50 passengers on a single trip.

“We want to offer passengers flying to other routes within and outside the country a seamless connectivity with this flight,” she said.

The carrier is starting flights to Ukunda at a time the aviation has been one of the hardest hit industries, bearing the brunt of the economic meltdown brought by the coronavirus.

Carriers such as Jambojet have projected a slightly reduced passenger numbers in December in a move set to hit its revenues at a time demand for air travel has remained sluggish due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

The airlines, which were already flying in turbulent skies even before the first case of Covid-19 was reported on the continent, had lost a total of Sh860 billion as at May 2020, according to a report by the Impact Assessment Analysis.