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Jetlink sets sights on NSE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Kenyan airline Jetlink Express has announced plans to list the carrier on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) in the next three years.

Jetlink Managing Director Capt Elly Aluvale disclosed to reporters that the airline was performing well and when the time comes, they would sell a certain shareholding to the public.

“Going to the NSE is something that we are definitely looking forward to. We plan to launch an Initial Public Offer,” he explained.

The load factor for domestic routes particularly Kisumu, Eldoret and Juba, he said, were recording impressive growth, at an average of 70 percent, and this had supported their business. He said most of their flights were business related or non-tourist.

The MD also revealed that they planned to soon venture into new destinations, such as Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Khartoum.

He said that they had applied for traffic rights to fly into Tanzania and exuded confidence that the approval would be given soon.

“I’m sure that very shortly we will be getting the green light and hopefully by mid this year we should be able to commence those flights,” he said, adding that the two airlines that had been granted the rights to fly into the East African country had not satisfied demand.

While acknowledging that the ongoing global recession had negatively impacted all global airlines, Capt Aluvale observed that if the fuel prices stabilised, most carriers would survive.

“It is hard to project where the oil prices will go this year but we hope that we will be able to sustain the increase that might be there in the short term,” he added.

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Speaking to journalists after the airline took delivery of one 50-seater commuter aircraft; Capt Aluvale said together with another that would arrive on Saturday, the planes would enhance their fleet and enable them to increase the frequencies on the local and regional destinations that they fly to.

He praised the aircrafts, which are on a three-year lease from a Canadian-based Bombardier Inc as reliable, fuel efficient and having helped them reduce their operating costs.

He hinted that once the lease agreement had expired, they would consider the purchase option.

Capt Aluvale said due to consumer demand, they would launch a new flight schedule next week, which would reflect the additional new frequencies that they plan to introduce on the various routes they operate in. Currently, Jetlink operates two flights a day in Eldoret and Kisumu.

“We have a lot of feedback from our customers who feel that we should introduce a third frequency into Kisumu preferably at midday because there is no one who’s flying there around that time,” he pointed out.

Last year, the carrier was feted as one of the top 100 medium-sized companies in Kenya which was a category for firms with a turnover of up to Sh1 billion.

The Capt expressed optimism that they would once again be ranked among the top 100 in the large companies’ category, having grown their turnover to the Sh1.5 billion range.

“We have enhanced our numbers, our frequencies have gone up and so naturally our turnover is going up. We expect to be ranked among the top companies in the next level, in the not so distance future,” he enthused.

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