Kenyan budget carrier Jambojet will start cargo operations next month after receiving regulatory approvals from the aviation regulator to fly goods on its passenger flights on both local and regional destinations.
The airline, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways (KQ), said on Tuesday that cargo operations starting in the second week of February will target regional routes such as Goma in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jambojet, which has been in operations since April 2014, will also ferry cargo to its local markets that include Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret and Malindi.
It will use the Dash 8-Q400 type of aircraft that it is currently used to ferry passengers on its routes to transport cargo on its routes.
The flight type that can accommodate up to 78 passengers can carry up to 1.2 tonnes of cargo on a single trip.
“Jambojet has received regulatory approvals from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to start ferrying cargo across local and regional markets where we operate and we are set to start next month,” said Jambojet managing director Karanja Ndegwa in an interview with Business Daily yesterday.
He said that cargo transported in the domestic market weighing 45 kilogrammes and above, 100 kilogrammess and above and 250 kilogrammes and above will cost $45, $60 and $70, respectively.
Cargo transported in the domestic market such as Mombasa that weighs less than 45 kilogrammes will attract a fee of $35.
Cargo from Nairobi to Goma that weigh less than 45 kilogrammes will attract a fee of $100.
Those measuring 45 kilogrammes and above, 100 kilogrammes and above, 250 kilogrammes and above, 500 kilogrammes and above and 1,000 kilogrammes and above will attract a fee of $2.30, $2.26, $2.10, $2.05 and $2, respectively.
“The charges exclude third party charges which include handling and screening payable directly to the ground handling agents,” said Mr Ndegwa.
Jambojet currently has passenger operations in routes such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Lamu, Ukunda, Malindi and Nairobi.
The carrier flew 730,000 passengers last year out of a total target of 855,000 passengers. This was mainly in partnership with hoteliers and other tourism players in Coast that saw it offer low-cost tickets and packages to increase its market share.
It shelved plans to restart direct flights to Entebbe and Kigali last year due to strict Covid-19 containment measures, which have reduced demand on the route.
The airline plans to start cargo business on both local and regional routes barely a few months after it launched operations on the Goma route.
Jambojet started flying the route on September 10, becoming the first airline to directly connect the capital of North Kivu province and Nairobi.
The carrier said that passengers heading to Goma in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will pay an average fare of Ksh43,749 ($384.95) on a return ticket.
A one-way ticket will initially cost $190 from Goma but $207 from Nairobi.
DRC market is currently served by the national carrier Congo Airways, which flies to eight domestic destinations, including Goma, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.
The DRC route is becoming one of the favourite routes for carriers with airlines taking advantage of poor connectivity in that market.
Kenya, just like many other countries, is looking to leverage on the DRC market by diversifying its export destinations, particularly at a time the Covid-19 induced disruption has brought into focus the need for deeper inter-regional trade.
The airline is taking advantage of the huge opportunities the African market has to offer and the rising demand for air connectivity in the region.
“There is a growing demand for air transport across the continent, with the International Air Transport Association projecting that Africa will become one of the fastest-growing aviation regions within the next 20 years, with an average annual expansion rate of almost five per cent. We, as Jambojet, are keen to be part of this growth,” said Jambojet in a past interview.