Jambojet has put on hold plans to launch direct flights from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Somali capital Mogadishu due to high insurance needed to ply the route.
The budget carrier, a subsidiary on national carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, was to launch its direct flight to Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu this year in a move that was expected to boost trade with Somalia.
The airline’s acting managing director Karanja Ndegwa, said Mogadishu flights have been put on ice until the airline meets Somalia Aviation Authority’s insurance requirements.
“Plan to launch Mogadishu flights is not possible at the moment because the insurance is also very high. We cannot deploy any asset on route mainly due to high insurance,” said Mr Ndegwa told the Business Daily during an interview.
He did not, however, disclose the additional insurance requirements needed for operations in Somalia, which has been torn apart by civil war since 1991.
Al Shabaab militant group has been fighting to topple Somalia’s central government since 2008 to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law, heightening insecurity.
The carrier planned to depart JKIA at 6am and fly back to Nairobi at 9:25am to allow the aircraft to be deployed on other routes in Kenya.
It planned to charge Sh24,470 for one way ticket to Mogadishu.
The move to start Somali flights followed increased demand on the route as the airline stretches its wings in a move expected to boost trade with the Horn of Africa nation.
The plan was mooted last November, but later on put on ice after the Somalia authorities failed to grant the airline a morning landing slot. The carrier later said it will start operations on the route this year.
The budget airline has been on an expansion spree and recently expanded its fleet with two brand new De Havilland Dash 8– 400.
The carrier, founded five years ago, ferries more than 700,000 passengers a year within Kenya and to neighbouring Uganda after an aggressive expansion aimed at first time flyers who would normally take a bus.
It resumed operations in the domestic market last week following the lifting of restrictions on movement by the state in and out of Nairobi.
Jambojet carrier said it will charge passengers Sh4, 800 on a one-way ticket to Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi and Eldoret from its hub in Nairobi.