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Jambojet plans for four more planes as it takes off to Uganda

Jambojet chief executive officer Willem Hondius. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Jambojet chief executive officer Willem Hondius. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Budget airline Jambojet plans to acquire four aircraft over the next 18 months to support its regional and local expansion.

Willem Hondius, Jambojet’s chief executive officer, announced the plans on Thursday in Entebbe, Uganda when launching the carrier’s maiden international flight.

Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, expects to take delivery of two used Bombardier Q400 planes in June and two new ones early next year.

Mr Hondius says the government has, on Jambojet’s behalf, applied for rights for the carrier to fly to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo, Tanzania and Burundi.

“The applications were made in October last year and we are hopeful that by the end of the year we shall have started flights to at least two of these countries,” he said at Entebbe International Airport.

“To expand, we need to increase our capacity. We shall therefore get four more aircraft by early next year, increasing our fleet size to eight.”

Mr Hondius said they are considering two options to acquire the planes since the business does not have enough  cash for outright purchases.

A financing lease would see the airline take up loans of up to $100 million (Sh10 billion) to activate the fleet expansion. Operational leases, similar to what Jambojet has in place for its current aircraft, are also being considered.

Jambojet was in May 2016 granted regulatory approval to fly to 16 routes including Entebbe, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Kigali, Juba and Bujumbura.

Following approval from the Ugandan government, the no-frills airline launched operations in the neighbouring country on Thursday, operating two daily return flights.

One-way tickets are priced at Sh11,330, a price tag which the carrier says are introductory and subject to revision in the future.

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