KQ deploys larger plane to Mombasa on rising demand

Kenya Airways aircraft

Kenya Airways aircraft grounded at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on April 3, 2020.

National carrier Kenya Airways has deployed a larger capacity aircraft to Mombasa on weekends following high demand from passengers, coming as a boost to the airline that has been grappling with low numbers.

The airline will on Saturday and Sunday use the high capacity Boeing 737 on the coastal route, an upgrade from the Embraer 190 that Kenya Airways normally uses on local destinations.

The airline, in a statement Thursday, said that it will also deploy this aircraft on the same route on October 30 and 31, highlighting a growing demand.

“The deployment of the larger aircraft is because of high number of passengers on that route that we have witnessed since the Huduma Day weekend,” said KQ, as the airline is referred to by its international code, in response to the Business Daily.

The weekend fare on Mombasa route are relatively high with a one way ticket from the coast to Nairobi this weekend going for as high as Sh9,565.

KQ’s Embraer 190 has a seat pitch of 12 on premiere and 84 on economy class while the Boeing 737 can carry up to 160 passengers.

This will be the second time that the carrier will be using the larger aircraft on the route after deploying the same model during the Huduma Day holiday.

“We introduce this aircraft on the route during Huduma Day and we have realized that the demand for weekend is still high and that is why we have extended to take advantage of high demand,” said the carrier.

The coastal route remains one of the most popular in the country with Kenya Airways having increased its frequencies on the destination from a low of two in May after the airline resumed flights following the second lockdown that was imposed in March, to the current seven.

The demand for local travel has been on the rise in recent days as the international routes continue to record a decline in demand.

In September, Kenya Airways cut New York flights to two on low demand for passengers’ as summer season came to a close.

The airline said demand on the route had dropped with the carrier recording a cabin factor of below 65 percent, forcing them to cut down on an additional flight to JF Kennedy, which it had been introduced in July.

KQ has a fleet of 36 aircraft and it owns 19 of these while has leased 17 from the lessors that include Nordic Aviation Capital and GECAS. Embraer forms the bulk of its fleet with 15 aircraft. KQ is currently operating to 40 international destinations and two domestic routes.