SGR trains, airlines out of Coast fully booked

Pirates Beach

Holiday makers swim at Jomo Kenyatta Public beach in Mombasa on December 26, 2022. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger service from Mombasa to Nairobi is fully booked after the Christmas festivities.

The trains are fully booked between January 1 to January 3 with only a few seats left on second-class coaches on January 4.

Airlines like Kenya Airways, Jambojet, Safarilink and Skyward Express are also cashing in on increased demand which has seen them increase tickets.

Safarilink, which is fully booked on the first three days of the year, is charging up to Sh23,398 one-way, up from Sh7,000 during the low season.

Its tickets from Diani to Nairobi are not available from January 1 to 4. The carrier is charging between Sh15,000 to Sh23,000 one-way on the route on January 5.

Jambojet does not have a flight from Lamu to Nairobi from January 1 to January 8.

The same carrier does not have a flight from Malindi to Nairobi on most days of the first week of the month.

It is charging Sh17,300 one-way from Malindi to Nairobi.

The carriers are benefiting from a huge return-to-work demand.

Travellers trooped to Mombasa in droves this festive season bearing in mind that they did not travel well in 2020 and 2021 partly due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

“We added more coaches in both directions to match the increasing passenger demand during the festive season. I can say SGR is the best thing that happened on the Nairobi-Mombasa route,” Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) managing director Philip Mainga told the Business Daily.

SGR passengers on economy pay Sh1,000 while first-class tickets go for Sh3,000.

The surge in December bookings is a boon for hoteliers who have faced one of their worst years and are hoping the visitor numbers in December will grow.

Tourism earnings more than doubled to Sh167.1 billion January to August from Sh83 billion in similar period a year ago.

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