- Title: Kenyan budget carrier Jambojet to double passengers in three years
- Date: 25th September 2019
- Summary: NAIROBI, KENYA (SEPTEMBER 25, 2019) (REUTERS) JAMBOJET CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), ALLAN KILAVUKA, WALKING IN FOR AN INTERVIEW A JAMBOJET MINIATURE PLANE (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMBOJET CEO, ALLAN KILAVUKA, SAYING: "We have flown about 3 million people, and every year we fly about 700,000 people, and you remember when we started with the Boeing aircraft we were flying 200,000 people. Today we are flying over 700,000 people, actually moving towards 800,000 people, and we anticipate in the next three or so years we will be flying at least 1.5 million people. Now, which means that people like this model and they are flying the model." KILAVUKA ON A CAMERA LCD DURING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMBOJET CEO, ALLAN KILAVUKA, SAYING: "We are profitable, not hugely profitable, I mean the margins are very thin given the cost that we have to incur and the challenge is to maintain this profitability because the industry is volatile."
- Embargoed: 9th October 2019 17:11
- Keywords: Kenya's first low-cost airline Allan Kilavuka no-frills carrier Kenya Airways Ethiopian Airlines De Havilland Q-400 planes
- Location: NAIROBI, KENYA
- City: NAIROBI, KENYA
- Country: Kenya
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA002AY5NL93
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Kenya's first low-cost airline, Jambojet, plans to more than double its annual passengers to 1.5 million in the next three years by opening new routes and flying planes more often, its chief executive said on Wednesday (September 25).
The no-frills carrier, founded by Kenya Airways five years ago, ferries 700,000 passengers a year after an aggressive expansion aimed at first time flyers who would normally take a bus.
Like budget carriers in Europe and South Africa, Jambojet passengers only pay for seats. The airline charges extra for services such as baggage and meals, allowing ticket prices to compete with buses and trains.
"People like this model, they are flying this model," Allan Kilavuka, Jambojet's CEO, told Reuters in an interview.
The airline has grown traffic by a compounded annual rate of 25%, giving it a modest return, Kilavuka said, although he declined to give figures.
Except for Ethiopian Airlines, most bigger carriers in the region are loss-making, including Jambojet's owner Kenya Airways, which parliamentarians voted to re-nationalise in July.
"We are profitable," Kilavuka said. "The margins are very thin given the costs that we have to incur, and the challenge is to maintain this profitability because the industry is volatile."
Jambojet operates six De Havilland Q-400 planes and plans to get two more by year's end, Kilavuka said.
It already flies to five destinations in Kenya and to Entebbe in neighboring Uganda and plans to start flights to South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Comoros.
The carrier also wants to boost daily usage of its planes from eight hours to 10 or 13 hours, he said, a move that would give it excess capacity.
Air travel in Africa is growing at about 6% per year, the CEO said, but from a low base.
"We need to scale up but that needs to be done responsibly so you don't overheat," he said. "It (the budget carrier model) is more manageable. It is easy for you to flex and change."
(Jackson Njehia, Duncan Miriri)
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