Kenya Airways enters road transport with new shuttle buses
Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways has diversified its business by unveiling shuttle buses that will ferry passengers from the central business district in Nairobi to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at a cost of $10.
The move is interpreted as a strategy by the airline to stay afloat and shore up earnings at a time when it has made record losses in the last two years.
The buses will depart from the city centre at 6am, 11am and 5pm. They will depart from JKIA to the city centre at 9am, 2pm and 9pm.
According to Kenya Airways the buses are meant to offer comfort and reliability in what could add to the sales of a carrier that posted a loss of Sh26.2 billion in the year to March.
“Spacious KQ shuttle buses now leave from the Sirios Car Park on Loita Street CBD, whisking you to JKIA in comfort and style,” the airline said in a notice.
“Why go through the hassle of finding your own way there when we will take you for just $10 one way?”
The carrier adds that each passenger will be allowed two pieces of luggage plus hand-held items.
The introduction of the shuttle service will compete with taxis that offer the services to tourists from hotels across the city and Kenyans who are flying in and out of the airport.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that JKIA handles more than 300,000 travellers every month, providing KQ with a rich base to tap into.
The shuttle service will see the national carrier diversify its revenue sources as the airline struggles to return to profitability.
Kenya Airways announced a record net loss of $262 million in the year ending March, widening the $257 million net loss the year before.
The carrier, which is part-owned by Air France KLM, has been reducing its fleet, selling land and cutting jobs to recover from losses caused by a slump in tourism and the cost of renewing its fleet.
Finance director Dick Murianki said the airline, which says it ferries 11,500 passengers a day, reduced its operating loss by 75 per cent.
Gross profit rose 42 per cent and the operating loss shrank to $41 million.
KQ passenger numbers rose to 4.23 million from 4.18 million as the proportion of occupied seats, the “cabin factor”, rose five percent to 68.3 per cent.