Domestic air travel fares double on high demand

The cost of domestic flights has doubled on some routes since Sunday when the air travel resumed after the lockdown as airlines record high demand, forcing carriers to increase frequencies on different routes.

Kenya Airways ticket price have shot to Sh10, 050 on Mombasa and Kisumu routes from a low of Sh5, 000 when the flights resumed on Sunday.

KQ, which started with two flights to Mombasa and one in Kisumu on Sunday, has so far added additional flights on these routes.

Curbs on travel in the Nairobi and four surrounding counties were lifted Saturday following the easing of restrictions that saw a reopening of bars and restaurants, religious services and schools as the rate of infections eases.

Budget carrier Jambojet was charging Sh4,600 on Sunday in almost all the routes but the fares have so far gone up to Sh6,100, reflecting a 32.6 percent jump.

KQ will now operate up to six flights on Mombasa route with the Kisumu journey having been scaled up to two. Jambojet is operating four flights a day to Mombasa and two to the lakeside city and Eldoret (two).

“We are increasing the frequencies of our domestic flights. Fly three times a daily with us from May 4 and six times daily from May from May 7 from Nairobi to Mombasa,” said Kenya Airways.

Jambojet said the demand for flying has so far picked when compared with Sunday when they resumed their operations.

“We have seen the demand going up compared with Sunday when we started, there is a growth in bookings in the coming days especially for those who are making future bookings,” said Jambojet.

Passengers who booked KQ flight yesterday (Wednesday) for 5pm parted with Sh10,050 for a one way to Mombasa with a low of Sh5,070 in the morning and midday flights, while the cost of a seat on Jambojet to the same route is going for Sh6,100.

This are almost the same rates that the airlines were charging before the carriers were grounded after the government imposed a second lockdown in March.

An increase in frequencies and relatively high fares is an indicator that the aviation sector, which has been hit hard by Covid-19, is witnessing enhanced demand on number of passengers seeking air travel.

Fares to Eldoret on Jambojet range from Sh4,600 to Sh7,100 on some days such as yesterday (Wednesday), while the Kisumu route is going at between Sh5,100 and Sh6,100.

Return ticket from Kisumu to Nairobi on some days go as high as Sh7,100 with the lowest fare going at Sh4,600 for a one way ticket while it will cost a passenger between Sh4,600 and Sh5,600 to fly from Mombasa to Nairobi.

The government had in March restricted movement of people in and out of Nairobi and four other neighbouring counties to slow the spread of Covid-19, cutting movement of air travel on western Kenya and coastal Kenya out of Nairobi, which is a hub for all the local carriers.

The five counties are being treated as one Covid-19 high risk zone, with residents barred from crossing over to other areas.

Source: Business Daily

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