Low-cost airline Jambojet has applied for licences to fly to destinations in 11 African countries in renewed efforts to expand operations beyond Kenya.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) had last year denied Jambojet a licence for international flights. The carrier, however, now says that it has proven its mettle locally and is ready for the regional market.
“For us this is the next step because we have established ourselves in Kenya already,” said Jambojet chief executive Willem Hondius in an interview.
The company wants to fly to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Jambojet wants to serve two destinations in Malawi— Blantyre and Lilongwe.
The airline is also seeking approvals to fly to Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Jambojet’s parent company and national carrier Kenya Airways already serves most of these destinations. Mr Hondius said in the interview that it had not yet been decided whether the two airlines would reach a code-sharing agreement to serve these routes.
According to a Kenya Gazette notice by the aviation regulator on Friday, Jambojet is also seeking to expand its domestic routes.
The airline currently serves six destinations from its Nairobi hub — Eldoret, Kisumu, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Ukunda. The airline wants to add Vipingo, Wajir and Garissa to its network.
Jambojet is hoping to fly to some of these new routes in the second half of the year. The new routes, Mr Hondius said, will require an expansion of its fleet of aircraft.
The airline is currently recovering from a crisis that left customers stranded amid flight cancellations and delays during the last December holiday season.
Mr Hondius wrote to customers last week apologising for the delays and promising that new aircraft would increase operational efficiency.
Jambojet has since ordered new aircraft to replace an older plane on its fleet. The company has also said that it will buy one more plane by August 2017. The airline operates two Q400s and two Boeing 737s.
Jambojet was launched in April 2014. In its second year of operation, the company reported a profit of Sh126 million after recording a loss of Sh287 million in 2015. The carrier recently indicated that it plans to diversify revenue streams beyond passenger ticket sales.
Jambojet is on the market for an ancillary manager who will drive revenues growth from such services as onboard shopping, car hire, hotel bookings and entertainment.