Kenya Airways (KQ) will from this month add more flights to the UK route after Kenya was removed from England’s red list, in anticipation of high demand in one of its crucial routes.
The national carrier will add four flights weekly up from the current two.
Europe accounted for 20 percent of KQ’s revenue last year, bringing in Ksh10 billion ($90 million) out of the Ksh62 billion ($561 million) that was realised.
“We shall be adding flights to the UK to four a week with a possibility of a fifth one depending on demand,” said the airline.
Kenya was in April placed under the UK’s red list, a move that restricted travellers from Kenya to Britain, on the back of high cases of Covid-19 in the country.
The announcement comes three weeks after British Airways resumed flights on the Nairobi-London route, setting the stage for fare competition between the two carriers.
Kenya Airways charges from Ksh75,815 ($686) for a one-way ticket to London compared to the British carrier at Ksh66,000 ($597).
The carrier is banking on scaling up frequencies to shore up its revenue that has been hit by the lack of demand for travelling since last year in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline posted a Ksh11.49 billion ($103.9 million) net loss in the six months ended June — a 19.8 percent drop from the Ksh14.33 billion ($129.6 million) loss it incurred in the preceding similar period.
A lot of passengers from the region use KQ when transiting to Europe at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
Additional flights will come as a boost to both exporters and importers as more frequencies will offer increased capacity for belly cargo.
Passenger flights account for 40 percent of all cargo that is transported by air and a decline in capacity normally signals high cost in freight charges.
However, the additional flights come at the time when the summer season, which is normally characterised by high demand for air travel, is coming to an end. KQ attributed its losses to a sharp decline in summer bookings.
The airline posted a Sh11.49 billion net loss in the six months ended June— a 19.8 percent cut from the Ksh14.33 billion ($129.6 million) loss it incurred in the preceding similar period, taking its accumulated losses over the years to above Ksh127 billion ($1.1 billion).
The UK had segmented countries into green, amber and red lists, each carrying different degrees of restrictions for arrivals back into the UK. A British citizen travelling from a green list is not required to undergo a mandatory quarantine.
Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the red list are denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels.