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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Domestic airlines stare at a bleak future as aviation industry struggle to stay afloat

By The Frontier Post Business

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Local carriers have added flights to meet an increase in demand for travel ahead of the movement ban in to and out of Nairobi effective Friday midnight.

Budget carriers Jambojet and Safarilink announced that they added flights on the Nairobi-Mombasa route after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Kajiado and Nakuru counties.

Jambojet said that the new flight would leave the coastal city of Mombasa at 7.30 pm and arrive in Nairobi at 8.45 pm on Friday. The flight from Nairobi would depart at 5.50 pm, arriving in Mombasa at 7.05 pm.

Safarilink, in a statement to its customers, said an additional Mombasa to Nairobi flight would depart at 8 pm.

Domestic airlines are staring at a bleak future as the ban comes at a time the aviation industry has been struggling to stay afloat since the resumption of flights in August last year.

“The new travel restrictions imposed by the State affects domestic carriers as well. This is a big blow to tourism too. We may have to close operations again. We are trying to negotiate with the State to exempt us to allow us to evacuate stranded international tourists in the various game parks,” Alex Avedi, the Safarilink Chief Executive said.

Hoteliers have also reported guests have been cancelling bookings for the Easter holiday since the President’s lockdown announcement.

Travellers are racing against time as suspension of movement in to and out of Nairobi takes effect on Friday midnight.

President Kenyatta banned air, road and rail movement into and out of Nairobi and four other counties effective Saturday forcing people with travel plans to scramble for transport to return to their homes.

“Due to the rising demand of passengers returning back home, we have added an additional flight between Nairobi and Mombasa this evening,” Jambojet announced on Friday.

Before the new flight, Jambojet operated six flights between Nairobi and Mombasa with tickets per trip ranging Sh4,100 and Sh8,100.

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