Jambojet lands in Rwanda as it eyes Somalia

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 12:00 |
Jambojet crew cheer up shortly after the inaugural flight landed at Kigali International Airport. The airline has unveiled an aggressive plan to fly to more African destinations. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Jambojet has made a maiden flight to Kigali, Rwanda, with an eye on Somalia in a regional expansion bid.

For Sh11,400 introductory offer, the carrier which is a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, will operate seven weekly flights between Kigali and Nairobi before tapping Mogadishu market.

Jambojet chief executive Allan Kilavuka said the airline seeks to enable more passengers to fly at affordable rates from its hub in Nairobi.

He told Business Hub at the flight’s inaugural ceremony they will leverage costs to dig into a niche area which they feel has been out-priced by Air Rwanda and Kenya Airways.

Making money

However, Kilavuka said “due to the unpredictable nature of airline business,” the airline doesn’t see itself making money in the first year.

“We don’t see it (Kigali) adding much to the bottom-line this year, but by 2021, we will be making money,” he said, adding: “This business is very unpredictable.”

Except for Ethiopian Airlines and may be Rwanda Air, most bigger carriers in East and Central African are not making profits, including KQ, as Kenya Airways is popularly known by its international code.

The airline estimates that 65,000 Kenyans visit Rwanda every year, which makes the country among top 10 incoming visitors to the neighbouring country, a move which makes business sense for the carrier.

The latest route marks the second regional destination the carrier flies to after Entebbe in Uganda. Since its inception in 2014, the airline has flown four million passengers. Currently, it flies to five destinations in Kenya and Entebbe, and also Burundi’s Bujumbura on behalf of Kenya Airways.

The airline, which has leased some of the newest fleet in the market, plans to more than double annual passengers to 1.5 million in the next three years by opening new routes and flying planes more often.

Out of the four million passengers, a million are new clients, according to its chief executive. Kilavuka said the carrier is also eyeing Tanzania, Comoros, South Sudan and Congo in an expansion strategy which he hopes will the carrier into profitability.

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