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KQ urged to harmonise fares

NAIROBI, August 16 – Travel industry players have appealed to national carrier Kenya Airways to consider incorporating the fuel surcharge in its air fare to ensure a final straight-up figure without hidden costs.

The Coast representative of the Kenya Association of Travel Agents Rashida Pereira said Friday that having an all inclusive rate would ensure that travelers know the upfront amount they are required to pay and this would create an opportunity for the airline to increase its market share.

“Today’s traveler is very demanding and price sensitive and hence the need for a final straight up figure. If they were clear (on the fare) even we could specify on the exact rate because we are no longer on commission basis,” she said.

She said having an all inclusive rate could not affect the travel agents as they get the service charge from the clients.

“KQ should not break the fuel charge up in two lumps; it goes to them only,” she poses.

Citing the political impasse earlier in the year which caused charters to either cease operations or operate below capacity, Pereira said this was an opportunity for KQ to increase its market share in the tourism industry.

She however expressed concerns about delays that impact on passengers travel, particularly international connections.

Observing that International Best Practice required international connections to have a three hour allowance when connecting from a domestic flight, Pereira said passengers sometimes end up spending between 6-8hrs on transit at JKIA.

But in a quick rejoinder, KQ said it would continue to invest in enhancing its capacity and modernising its fleet and systems in order to address some of the challenges that the airline faces.

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KQ’s Communications Manager Victoria Kaigai said they had already received two planes and expected to receive two additional Boeing 737-800s before the end of the year.
Speaking during the maiden flight of a 145-capacity Boeing 737-800 plane which replaced the one that crashed in Doula, Cameroon in May 2007, Kaigai revealed that a third Embraer 170 Long Range Jet they received early August were expected to ease capacity constraints in regional routes.

The airline also expects to take delivery of two Dash 800s in November and December.

The plane would also come in handy as KQ starts direct flights to Madagascar in November.

At the same function, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) said it would demolish illegal structures erected along the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport flight path.

KAA Chairman Eng Erastus Mwongera said they had already given people who have encroached along the path a notice to vacate, but they would forcefully eject them if they don’t oblige.

“We are working with the Provincial administration and the Lands Ministry to remove those structures but we are first giving them the chance to move out peacefully,” he said.

Noting that air travel was becoming ideal for many people, Mwongera also said the government intends to open up all airstrips in the country.

He disclosed that the KAA board was undertaking a countrywide airport master plan that would guide the aviation industry in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 that aim at creating an enabling environment for making Kenya a regional hub.

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