Kenyan low cost carrier Jambojet has launched flights to three new destinations in the country’s coastal region, namely Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda (Diani). The first flights on the new routes will take off from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on March 28 2015.
The airline, which will commemorate one year in operation on April 1 2015, is targeting the growing domestic travel market comprising tourists, traders, investors, government workers and employees of local and international aid agencies to cement its position in Kenya’s nascent low cost airline market.
The move by Jambojet is also likely to be well-received by the tourism sector, which has been pushing domestic tourism as a recovery measure following decline in foreign guest arrivals linked to insecurity.
Jambojet fares from Nairobi to Lamu will start at Ksh 5,950 ($65); Nairobi to Malindi Ksh 4,950 ($55); Nairobi to Ukunda Ksh 4,950 ($55) all one way (including taxes). The airline will also operate short flights connecting Lamu and Malindi at Ksh 2,950 ($33).
According to Jambojet CEO Willem Hondius, the airline has chartered one Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft from DAC Aviation to service the new routes. This type of aircraft is capable of operating at shorter runways and is behaving like a jet aircraft in terms of speed and comfort.
We have chartered this aircraft to complement our current fleet of three Boeing 737 planes which are serving the existing routes. However, the Q400 will also be utilized on Kisumu and Eldoret in order to improve the product on these two routes,” said Hondius, adding that there were plans to grow its fleet as it mulls new destinations in the East African region.
Hondius says the decision to fly to the new destination is strategic. “Lamu and Malindi are leading tourism destinations, globally acclaimed for their pristine beaches and unique cultural sites. Ukunda, also known as Diani, has an airstrip serving Kenya’s busy south coast tourism circuit. By flying to these destinations, Jambojet will be hoping to tap the anticipated increase in traffic especially to Lamu where the government plans to construct a $5 billion port,” said Hondius.
Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, sells tickets from as low as Ksh 2,950 one way. The airline, which currently flies to Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu says it has flown about 500,000 customers in its first year of operation, signalling huge potential for growth in the future. The airline relies heavily on online ticket sales through its portal www.jambojet.com. It has positioned itself as a provider of affordable air travel in a country with a rapidly expanding middle class and growing economy.