Kenya Airways bullish over its pricey tickets

Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze (right) and group finance director Alex Mbugua. Photo courtesy of
Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze (right) and group finance director Alex Mbugua. Photo courtesy of

Kenya Airways has defended its pricey tickets against competitors stating that is only the case during peak period. It further stated that consumers pay more when they book late to their travelling date. It further stated that it offers quality services which come at a cost.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer Mbuvi Ngunze explained that during a media briefing where the company explained the situation involving two Boeing Dreamliners that has stalled in the US. Mr. Ngunze acknowledged delays in the delivery of two Boeing 787 Dreamliners the airline had ordered from the US but did not provide details. The 787s are the final two out of the nine Dreamliner planes that KQ had ordered, following the delivery of seven planes in the past 18 months.

“Remember we are coming off a fairly high season, the peak period of travel — from June through to August and early September.”

Ngunze said that the company is still competitive flying between 10, 000 to 12, 000 people a day in its flight connections.

High pricing was stated as one of the things that led to loss making by the company in an initial report by the Senate, investigating why the airline recorded sh26 billion losses. Among others, the Senate stated that Project Mawingu which involved buying aircrafts to boost its fleet was not prudent. The project had been seen as a bad investment by KLM who sit on the Kenya Airways board and it seems their concern has been vindicated.

A fare comparison done by the Centre for Aviation showed that KQ charged about $2,300 (about Sh230,000) on the Nairobi-London route, compared to Ethiopian Airline’s charge of $949 (about Sh94,900) representing a 58.7 percent difference. The same flight on South African Airways’ costs $887 (about Sh88,700).

Perhaps this bullish behavior will continue to rock the airline. More importantly, the long awaited reforms, through a bailout by various stakeholders should see to it that pricing is well considered to return the company back to profitability. That decision, as has been speculated, should involve a good number of its current senior managers and also board members sent home to pave way for a new team, cognizant and alive to the realities of the airline industry.


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