ECONOMIC COMPETITION

Don't hurt tourism when protecting KQ

In Summary

• Hoteliers at the Coast are complaining that they are being crippled by government's reluctance to allow more international flights into Mombasa

• Only Ethiopian Airlines and a German tour operator presently fly direct to Mombasa

Mombasa County officials from the Tourism Department receive second group of 180 tourists from Ukraine at Moi International Airport.
Mombasa County officials from the Tourism Department receive second group of 180 tourists from Ukraine at Moi International Airport.
Image: FILE

Kenya is restricting direct flights to Mombasa to protect Kenya Airways. Only Ethiopian Airlines and a German tour operator fly direct to Mombasa but Qatar, Turkish Airlines and Emirates all want slots there.

KQ should definitely be supported as a national asset. Government has participated in the financial restructuring of KQ with cross-party support. But that support should not extend to protectionism that damages other sectors of the economy.

Kenyan hoteliers want the aviation authority to allow more direct flights by international airlines to Mombasa. They argue that the 45,000 hotel beds at the Coast also deserve national support.

KQ wants tourists to the Coast to fly to Nairobi and then get onto connecting flights. But obviously it wold be better for the Coastal tourism industry if tourists could fly straight to their destination.

Similarly, there are reports that there is a shortage of freight capacity for horticultural exporters because government is reluctant to licence competitors to KQ.  Again it is not good to cripple one sector of the economy to protect another sector.

So let's support KQ to get back on its feet but without injuring tourism or the horticultural sector.

Quote of the day: "If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers."

Charles Dickens
The English novelist died on June 9, 1870