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Shipping & Logistics

Local air ticket prices fall 50pc on low demand

Jambojet
Passengers disembark from Jambojet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on April 1, 2014. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Local airfares have dropped by almost half in most routes as airlines grapple with the falling demand of passengers following measures put in place to curb spread of coronavirus that has hit the country.

Average fares levied by the budget carrier Jambojet in most of the routes have dropped to a low of Sh3,800 in almost all destinations, highlighting the negative impact that the pandemic is having on airlines.

Jambojet announced that it had cut its frequencies in all the routes citing low demand by travellers.

“Following a decline in passenger numbers due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Jambojet wishes to inform its customers and the general public that we have reduced our flight frequencies to all local destinations,” said the airline.

The airline said it has lost over 50 percent of the passengers on the back of the virus that has almost brought the whole world to a standstill.

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Passengers travelling to Malindi and Ukunda will part with Sh4,300, so far the highest cost in the routes where the airline plies, with all other destinations including Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret going for Sh3,800.

The budget carrier has been charging between Sh5,000 and 7,000 depending on the route and demand with coastal and Kisumu destinations tending to be the most expensive routes because of higher number of people seeking air travel in these routes.

Kenya Airways, which has been charging as high as Sh12,000 for a one-way ticket to Mombasa and Kisumu previously is now levying Sh6,050 to the Port City of Mombasa and Kisumu.

Other airlines such as Fly 540 have cut their fares to Sh3,540 in most of the routes where the carrier flies as they grapple with lack of travellers.

“It’s a difficult time in the industry. Numbers are plummeting,” said Safarilink chief executive Alex Avedi in a phone interview with the Shipping& Logistics yesterday.

Mr Avedi noted that following the outbreak of Covid-19 virus, cancellation of flights especially by foreign tourist who use the airlines to connect to destinations such as Maasai Mara, has been on the rise.

He noted that their travellers, who normally plan for a seven-day visit into the country are opting to reschedule their flights because, even if they were to come, they will be quarantined for 14 days.

The Corona pandemic has resulted to major changes in the transport sector with a recent directive from the Health Cabinet Secretary requiring passenger service vehicles to carry less people as government moves to tame the spread of the virus. Most matatus are carrying half of their capacity but the move has had an impact on passengers who are now paying double fares.

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