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Jambojet traffic grows but airport expansion delay poses major headache

Thursday, 18 Jun 2015

The number of passengers flying Jambojet to its coastal destinations has grown significantly with travelers taking advantage of its competitive fares. But the low cost carrier has cited delays in expansion of airports as a major constraint.

With fares less than half of those offered by competitors, Jambojet passenger numbers on the Ukunda tripled with a growth of 177% versus May 2014.

Traffic to Malindi nearly doubled (+90%) in the month of May. Traffic to Lamu also grew twenty per cent in May. The airline launched the Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda routes in April.

Jambojet however says it would have done better on its Ukunda and Lamu routes but for delays in expansion of the airport facilities. According to Jambojet CEO Willem Hondius, traffic growth to the South Coast and Lamu would have been much higher had the construction of the runways been completed earlier.

The runway length extension in Lamu should have been ready by the end of April and the runway aircraft turning point at Ukunda Airport ought to have been ready early May,” said Hondius.

Hondius was quick to add that the airline was in touch with Kenya Airports Authority over the issue. “It appears that construction work at the Lamu Airport has been hampered by poor weather while the delay in Ukunda is due to tender processes,” he stated.

Jambojet says it has been forced to suspend some flights on the coastal routes. “Due to delays in construction works, Jambojet suspended a number of flights to both Lamu and Ukunda in May and June. This suspension will be extended to July and even August if the runways are not ready in time,” said Hondius, terming the situation unfortunate as the July-August is high tourism season.