Kenya Airways puts off launch of flights to Italy

A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Airways (KQ) has postponed the launch of flights to Italy even as it suspended its operations to Yaoundé, Cameroon due to low demand for passengers.

The national airline was to start flying to Rome and Milan in June, but it says the plans have been put on hold as passenger numbers have been low.

In the latest route review by the carrier, KQ has ramped up daily flights to London in the United Kingdom from five even as it cut domestic frequencies between Nairobi and Kisumu from 26 times a week to 17 on the back of a low season.

“The postponement is in light of reduced passenger demand as a result of slower than expected recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said KQ in a statement on Monday.

According to the initial schedule, KQ was to operate two weekly flights to Italy on Wednesday and Sunday using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Last year, KQ expanded its code-share agreement with the Rome-based Alitalia Airline, creating additional connectivity to the networks of the two carriers by allowing customers to fly seamlessly to their destinations.

The codeshare flights gave tourists and businesspeople additional travel options and better flight schedules when travelling between African points into Europe, the Far East and South America through the two airlines’ hubs in Rome and Nairobi.

KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, re-introduced flights to Rome in 2019 after a seven-year hiatus, banking on increased traffic between the two continents and a new link in Geneva to boost its earnings.

The airline said it will continue to serve Italy through European destinations, namely London, Paris, and Amsterdam connecting to its SkyTeam partner airlines, ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo) and Air France-KLM.

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