Kenya Airways has turned to the more than 100,000 Kenyans living in the US with generous discounts in a bid to shore up passenger numbers three weeks since it launched direct flights to New York.
National carrier, which has been grappling with low passenger numbers, says Kenyans who book tickets directly will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on fares and three of their luggage.
“The special rate for the Kenyan diaspora is only available for bookings made directly on our website,” Stephen Ngamau, KQ’s area manager for the Americas, says in a notice on display at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC.
“We encourage guests to enrol onto our database for more updates and offers… We look forward to having the Kenyan diaspora aboard Kenya Airways soon.” The fares on the New York route range between Sh79,000 and Sh105,000 depending on the booking period.
Kenya estimates the number of its citizens studying or working in the US at 130,000 even though other sources claim the figure could be as high as 300,000. The group has been very active in the country’s economic affairs with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data showing that North America accounted for 50.8 per cent of the Sh197.1 billion that citizens living abroad sent home last year.
The trend has continued this year with CBK data showing that Kenyans living in North America sent home Sh72.1 billion in the first six months of this year, representing a 69.3 per cent growth over the Sh42.5 billion received in a similar period last year.
Kenya launched its daily non-stop flights to the US on October 28 in what government officials said would stimulate tourism, trade and investments from the world’s largest economy.
The national carrier is cutting back on flights citing low demand. It has rescheduled flights covering November to March and cancelled 10 flights between last Monday and December 5.