Airline operators are dangling ticket price cuts to woo travellers as the low aviation season sets in after December festivities in a move expected to leave a dent on their margins.
Four airlines have so far announced discounted airfares as part of the coping mechanism, shining a spotlight on the tightening operating situation.
Jambojet, Emirates, Kenya Airways and Qatar Airways have since notified their customers of the intended ticket price cuts for mass bookings, hoping to boost volumes in the lean times.
“The high season is over so traffic has reduced. Therefore, discounts are required to attract more travellers,” Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Gilbert Kibe told the Business Daily in an interview yesterday.
In the new fares, low-cost carrier Jambojet was the first about 10 days ago to announce that it will sell 10,000 tickets for Sh2,020 to frequent flyers on its domestic routes.
The airline flies to local destinations such as Eldoret, Malindi, Mombasa, Ukunda, and Kisumu from its hub in Nairobi.
“Definitely, the airlines must revise their prices downwards to bring on-board more customers this dry season,” said Ken Gichinga, chief economist at Mentoria Economics. “It’s more of a volumes game than margins game,” he noted.
The Fly Emirates is also selling tickets at discounted rates of between nine and 29 percent for Nairobi customers on Dubai, London and Beijing routes from January 7.
The airline said the discounted tickets must be bought before January 21 to allow customers booking to fly on the routes between January 7 and November 30.
Kenya Airways on January 10 told its customers that they would enjoy discounts of up to 25 percent for business and economy class tickets in 50 of its destinations.
The announcement, which comes barely a few weeks after the airline issued a profit warning, indicated that for a customer to get the discount, they must book by January 17 for travel by November 30.
Qatar Airways was also not left behind with the airline telling its passengers that it would be offering a 35 percent discount on its tickets from January 13 (yesterday) to January 19.