Jambojet set to receive two Sh6.6b planes by Christmas

Travellers disembark from Jambojet plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Travellers disembark from a Jambojet plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Jambojet is set to receive two new aircraft worth Sh6.6 billion before Christmas in anticipation of the high-season passenger demand and as the low-cost carrier prepares to start international flights.

The airline, a subsidiary of national carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, is set to receive the first of two Bombardier Q400 on December 11. The second one is expected to touch down in Nairobi six days later.

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

“We are confident that the Q400 aircraft will allow us to implement our growth strategy as we strive to launch new routes and to respond to the anticipated increase in demand,” Willem Hondius, Jambojet’s chief executive, said in a statement.

The budget carrier will lease the aircraft from Danish firm Nordic Aviation Capital which in turn signed a purchase order for the planes with Montreal-based Bombardier on Wednesday.

Jambojet, which has been operational since April 2014, currently operates four aircraft — two Q400 planes (which were also acquired this year) and two Boeing 737s leased from its parent firm.

The airline plies six routes in Kenya; between Nairobi and Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, Malindi and Ukunda (Diani). “We are looking at retiring our narrow body fleet (Boeing 737s) and transitioning to an all-Q400 fleet by end of this year,” said Mr Hondius.

The carrier has already returned one of the Boeings to KQ with the national carrier now expected to put it up for sale.

Thousands of Jambojet passengers travelling to the Coast over Christmas were hit by flight delays and cancellations.

The airline said the delays resulted from technical problems on one Bombardier, which was compounded by the delayed arrival of the aircraft to handle higher passenger numbers during the holiday season.

Jambojet, which issued an apology for these delays, has since then set out to increase its fleet to avoid a repeat of this incident even as looks to expand regionally.