National carrier Kenya Airways has received an air service licence (ASL) from the aviation regulator, paving the way for it to commence new domestic flight routes in the near future.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) revealed in a Gazette notice last Friday that it has given the loss-making airline a three-year greenlight to fly to Wajir, Homabay, Lokichoggio, Isiolo and Maasai Mara.
“Licence granted for three years, with effect from the 22 March 2019,” KCAA said in the notice.
Should Kenya Airways (KQ) launch its services along the new routes, the move is likely to increase competition for smaller airlines such as Silverstone Air, which already plies the Wajir and Maasai Mara routes.
KQ, through low-cost subsidiary Jambojet, currently flies to Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu routes. It also operates Eldoret, Lamu, Malindi, Eldoret and Ukunda routes targeting businessmen and tourists.
The airline charges about Sh5,500 on a one-way ticket when demand for an air ticket is low and as high as Sh12,500 during high seasons.
Silverstone Air charges about Sh4,500 to Sh10,000 for a one-way ticket.
Fly 540, however charges about Sh4,500 to Sh9,500 for a one-way ticket on its routes across the country.
The potential addition of more domestic flights by KQ will also increase options available to customers, and could lead to a reduction in air ticket prices.
KQ's route expansion plan comes at a time when the carrier is looking to shore up revenues while also cutting costs in a bid to improve its financial position.