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PRIDE OF AFRICA SPREADING ITS WINGS

Kenya Airways eyes Chinese market in route expansion

In Summary

• The addition of Geneva and Rome brings to five the national carrier’s destinations to Europe.

• Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma thanked the Swiss government for granting KQ the right to land in its country.

KQ's inaugural flight to Geneva upon landing on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
KQ's inaugural flight to Geneva upon landing on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Image: COURTESY

Kenya Airways is optimistic it will be allocated slots in Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is in the final stages of construction.

KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz said this is in line with the airline which has prioritised penetrating the China market after launching the Geneva and Rome routes.

“The Civil Aviation Authority said it will grant KQ slots in the new airport which is in the final stages of construction,” Mikosz said on Thursday.

 

Kenya Airways made its maiden flight to Geneva on Thursday after making a stop in Rome.

The flight was on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The addition of Geneva and Rome brings to five the national carrier’s destinations to Europe.

KQ had suspended its flights to Rome in 2012 after a business review.

We are trying to tap into two markets and once traffic builds we’ll strongly consider detagging and doing only Rome and only Geneva.
KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz

Mikosz expressed optimism the route will rake in profits this time around.

“We have taken a safe approach. First of all, the plane is different and it is much more profitable and appropriate for this type of route. Secondly, we didn’t take a risk to only go to Rome, but we also are going to Geneva,” he said.

 

The CEO said the launch of the new routes was an act of faith.

 

“Kenya Airways has been through some state of turmoil, but the launch of this route is an act of faith and to some of our shareholders it’s an act of courage that we are opening up new routes to Europe,” he said.

Joseph said the route was not only launched to make money, but to prove that Nairobi is a hub for Africa.

Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma thanked the Swiss government for granting KQ the right to land in its country.

She said the airline is living up to the multilateral agenda.

Parliamentary Transport committee chairman David Pkosing said KQ needs to change its model of operation to make it profitable.

He said carriers including Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines are profitable, not only because they are subsidised by their governments, but because their airports have many products and services on offer.

“Dubai tickets are cheap but passengers end up spending more money when at the airports, which is like a mall. I spend up to Sh100,000 when I’m at Dubai Airport. I spend more than the ticket. Nairobi should consider going that way,” Pkosing said.

“Making money primarily from tickets may not be profitable.”

The MP said his committee will next Tuesday present its report on KQ with suggestions on how to make the tickets cheaper

The national carrier on Wednesday launched flights to Geneva and Rome as it seeks to grow earnings.

The flights will be on KQ's Boeing 787 Dreamliner four times a week.

The new flights will bring the destinations KQ serves in Europe to five and 55 worldwide.

KQ currently serves London, Paris and Amsterdam in Europe.

The introduction of the new routes is part of Kenya Airways’ network expansion strategy to grow its market share, increase revenues and create a financial turnaround.


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