Transport

Kenya Airways faces revenue squeeze on Amsterdam passenger caps

kq

Kenya Airways planes at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on July 31, 2020. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

Kenya Airways (KQ) faces continued revenue shortfalls on its European route after the Netherlands extended Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport’s passenger caps into next year.

The airport has extended the limits to March next year, coming as a blow to the national carrier ahead of the December peak passenger season.

The Schiphol Airport—one of the busiest air transit points in the world—had initially advised airlines that it would be extending the limits on outbound passengers from the facility to October, from the initial August date that it had issued earlier.

The move implies that Kenya Airways and other carriers will not be allowed to operate at full capacity out of the airport for the next five months, a move that will negatively impact on earnings.

"Schiphol has made this choice to provide travellers a reliable travel experience, and predictability and stability for airlines," said the airport in a statement.

In June, Amsterdam capped the number of passengers that the national carrier can carry from Schiphol to Nairobi to 78 percent of its capacity on every flight, meaning the airline is flying out of The Netherlands with some seats empty.

The airport had limited daily departures from the facility to 67,500 to manage a rise in the number of travellers amid a shortage of ground personnel at the facility.

Europe was the second-highest revenue earner for Kenya Airways last year, bringing Sh11.3 billion in revenues.

KQ had also suspended the sale of tickets from London to Nairobi in June, as airports in Europe grappled with a shortage of manpower after cutting jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline has since resumed selling the tickets.

The suspension followed a directive by Heathrow Airport instructing airlines to freeze outbound bookings until September.

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