Domestic carriers have doubled flight frequency on nearly all routes, riding on improved demand for air travel following the reopening of the country from a Covid-19 lockdown.
A spot check shows that several airlines including Jambojet and Safarilink have upped the flights per week on routes such as Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, Malindi and Diani, in what look set to boost their revenues.
Passengers travelling to routes such as Kisumu, Eldoret, Ukunda and Malindi can now fly two times per day from their hubs in Nairobi up from once per day when the carriers resumed operation in Mid-July.
“We have increased our frequencies because we realised there is a huge desire for domestic travel after the Covid-19 restrictions were partially lifted by the state,” said Safailink chief executive Alex Avedi.
“We are also not pricing for profit at the moment. The air ticket we are charging is meant to keep operations going.”
Under the new changes, Safailink is flying to Kisumu 14 times per week up from seven. This includes an additional evening flight to Kisumu on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Safarilink has also increased its frequency on the Diani and Vipingo route to 14 times per week up from seven.
It has also introduced flights to Malindi where it is flying seven times per week.
Jambojet is also flying to Eldoret, Ukunda and Malindi 14 times per week up from seven times.
Jambojet is, however flying to Kisumu 24 times per week up from 14 when it resumed operations in July. It is also flying to Mombasa 32 times per week up from 21 per week.
The increase in frequencies by Jambojet comes barely a month after the carrier increased fares in five of its domestic routes including Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret and Malindi and Diani.
Passengers going to Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, and Malindi have been paying a one-way minimum fare of Sh6,600 up from Sh4,800 on the routes from Nairobi since last month, reflecting a 37.5 percent increase.
The carrier’s passenger capacity has increased from 30 percent in the weeks after Kenya resumed domestic flights in July 1 to 58 percent in September.
“We are seeing a slight increase in passenger numbers flying the domestic routes. This is the reason why we are increasing our frequencies to accommodate more numbers,” said Jambojet acting managing director Karanja Ndegwa.
Meanwhile, the Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) said its members are yet to receive the Sh3 billion government bailout it had requested six months ago.