Airline companies plying the Lamu route are reaping big as the festive season approaches with their flights getting early bookings.
A spot check by Shipping Tuesday revealed that tickets for the various airlines for most days up to next week are fully booked with very limited spaces remaining on a few weekday dates.
Among the airlines plying the Lamu route include Fly540, Fly Sax, Silverstone Air, Skyward Express, Safarilink and AirKenya.
Ms Fatma Ali, who is a senior agent working with the Lamu Express Travel Limited, said the December festive season has shown early signs for a booming business.
“Business is good. Most airlines are fully booked for the next one week. We have already recorded a great improvement in terms of customer response at the very early stages of the December festive season. That’s enough indication that the entire December season will be good business wise,” said Ms Fatma.
Shipping also established that there is no airline plying the Lamu route which had so far increased fares to the various destinations despite the high number of customer bookings.
“So far we have no incidents of increased fares. To travel from Lamu to Malindi, we are still charging between Sh2,500 and Sh3,500. From Lamu to Mombasa, you will be required to pay between Sh3,500 and Sh4,500 while from Lamu to Nairobi, you will be required to pay between Sh5,000 and Sh6,000 depending on the type of airline chosen to travel in. All these are normal fares,” said Mr Mohamed Said, an air travel agent.
Ms Aziza Athman, an agent dealing with local flights, said air travel business especially in Lamu has picked up very well since the beginning of December.
“We are experiencing an extremely busy festive period ahead and that’s good for business,” said Ms Aziza.
Some of the travellers who talked to Shipping yesterday expressed worry that they could miss flights in the days to Christmas and New Year and appealed to airline companies to reconsider increasing the number of scheduled trips into Lamu.
“It’s high time the airline companies reconsidered increasing the number of flights on the Lamu route to cope with the high customer demand this December holiday and as we approach New Year. We are now forced to travel by road from here to Malindi. Almost all planes are fully booked up to next week,” said Mr Menza Kahindi, a traveller.
Lamu has witnessed a rapid growth in the number of travellers moving in and out of Lamu daily. All this is attributed to the introduction of cheap price model airlines serving the Lamu route.