Expect to pay more for local flights after Kenya Airways (KQ) increased ticket prices as the national carrier seeks to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline yesterday resumed domestic flights after a prolonged absence from the skies following the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country in March.
Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi said the pandemic has increased the cost of operations in terms of keeping passengers and staff safe.
It was, however, not immediately clear by what margin the ticket prices had gone up.
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“The cost of operation will go up because we are doing many things that we never used to do, such as wearing of personal protective equipment and sanitisation. The (passenger) demand is also not as high as it used to be. The volume has dropped and so the unit cost increases and as a result, the price will go up,” said Mr Kilavuka.
“On the one hand, we want to stimulate demand, so we will take that into account so that prices are not exorbitant. But on the other hand, we have to make sure that we cover our costs.”
The CEO flagged off flights to Mombasa and Kisumu yesterday, with the resumption of international flights slated for August.
He said the airline expects an upsurge in demand in the first few weeks due to the recently lifted travel restrictions in three counties, including Nairobi and Mombasa, before bookings tank.
As part of newly introduced safety measures, planes will be sanitised before take-off and after landing, while physical distancing and temperature screening of passengers at airports will also be enforced.
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Local flights will not serve meals to limit contact and movement within the aircraft.
Kilavuka said passengers who had booked tickets before Covid-19 halted flights had been given vouchers that will allow them fly at a later date.