Kenya Airways to resume Djibouti passenger flights


The government will stop Kenya Airways (KQ) bailouts from next year as it moves to cut off the national carrier from exchequer support. FILE PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

Kenya Airways (KQ) plans to resume commercial passenger flights to Djibouti, ending a two-year hiatus that saw the carrier drop operations on the destination when it resumed international flights in August 2020.

President William Ruto has said talks are advanced with Djibouti President Ismail Omar that could see Kenya’s national carrier resume flights to that country.

Details on the frequency of the flight type, ticket charges as well as the timing of the KQ flight to Djibouti remain unclear.

The President did not specify why the route was a priority to the carrier that is currently expanding across the globe to rev up its revenues.

Djibouti is among the eight African countries that KQ dropped when it resumed flights in August.

The other routes included Angola, Mali, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and Malawi.

KQ suspended passenger operations in the international market in March 2020 due to the coronavirus.

“Met Djibouti President Ismail Omar in Washington, D.C, United States of America; talks centred on the entry of Kenya Airways to Djibouti and the lifting of visa requirements for citizens of the two countries,” said Dr Ruto about talks with President Omar on the sidelines of the US-Africa Summit last week.

The resumption of flights on the route is expected to be a big boost to KQ which recorded a ninth consecutive half-year loss, sinking Sh15 billion deeper into the negative equity position.

The airline, which has been surviving on State bailouts since the Covid-19 pandemic, reported an Sh9.8 billion loss in August, a better performance than the Sh11.48 billion loss it recorded in a similar period a year earlier.

It booked a further Sh5.3 billion loss on hedged foreign exchange differences, driving its total comprehensive loss to Sh14.9 billion.

KQ is planning to resume Djibouti flights at a time it is flying to Dubai from Mombasa, coming as a major boost to tourism on the Coast.

The route introduction is expected to boost Kenya's coastal region tourism industry through direct access to and from the Middle East.

The Dubai - Mombasa corridor will give tourists from the Middle East, Russia, Northern Europe and Australia direct access to the wonders of the coastal region's tourism and hospitality industry.

The region's traders of electronics, clothes and other consumer goods will also benefit from the belly cargo capacity that will be available on the flight.

With this flight, KQ will increase its frequencies to Dubai to 14 times per week. KQ currently operates ten weekly flights to Dubai from Nairobi using a mix of B737-800 and the Dreamliner B787-800.

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