Air travel was considered a preserve for the rich but since the launch of the low-cost carriers (LCC) in the country this notion has changed. Low cost carriers control an estimated 25% of the global aviation market according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The rise of low cost carriers in Kenya has revolutionised travel, brought affordable air transport within economic reach of a large part of the Kenya population and the market for air travel has massively expanded. This is largely because these LCCs operate a model that features low fares, fewer in-flight frills, and an online booking all which keep costs lower than the traditional airlines.
According to a World Bank Group book, “Ready for Takeoff?” the LCC model could help catalyse air transport in the world’s less developed countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A number of low cost domestic operators of varying sizes fly within Kenya, destinations are mostly around the coast and the popular national parks where a lot of tourists like to visit. This has seen an increased number of people move away from bus stops and now prefer to use low cost carriers to move to their favourite destinations. Examples of these LCCs in the country include Jambojet, Silverstone Air, Skyward Express and Fly 540 aviation.
Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways began operations in April of 2014 and by 2019 it had flown over 3 million passengers with more than a million being first time fliers. Silverstone air began its operations in 2017 and offers flights from Wilson Airport in Nairobi which is its main operation base.
Studies show that LCCs not only boost the aviation industry but also have broad positive effects on employment, gross domestic product (GDP), tourism, productivity and trade.
The role of LCC’s in the growth of air travel in Kenya is one of the topics that will be discussed in-depth during the 2019 KATA convention to be held at Enashipai Spa and Resort on the 27th and 28th of September.
Industry captains will get a chance to discuss and debate trends, patterns and drivers of local air travel and why low-cost carriers hold the future for growth of the industry.