, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – Kenya Airways passengers on local routes will now be able to pay for their air tickets via Safaricom’s money transfer service, M-PESA.
This comes after the two companies partnered on Thursday to offer customers a ticket payment solution.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Kenya Airways Commercial Director Mohan Chandra said the service is aimed at enhancing customer experience with the national carrier by giving them the opportunity to buy tickets at their convenience.
“Our customers will now be able to pay for their flights via M-PESA by simply dialing our call centre or logging onto our website,” Mr Chandra explained.
The new service builds on an earlier agreement between the listed telecoms firm and three local airlines – East African Safari Air, Air Kenya and Aircraft Leasing Services that enables air travelers book their tickets from their mobile phones and pay through M-PESA.
Safaricom Chief Executive Michael Joseph said the partnership was in line with the company’s strategy of increasing data usage and application for customer convenience as it diversifies its revenue base.
“With this new service we hope to increase our data subscriber numbers by offering our customers innovative services,” Mr Joseph said.
The service is currently available to passengers plying domestic routes and selected regions in East Africa.
Locally, KQ flies to Kisumu, Nairobi, and Mombasa while the new service could be used to purchase tickets to Entebbe, Dar-es-Salaam, Kigali, and Bujumbura.
Mr Joseph said this was due to M-PESA’s limitations which has a maximum transaction cap of Sh35,000.
“Unfortunately with Safaricom’s limits you can pay for domestic or regional tickets only,” he said.
He was however optimistic that they could work on the money transfer system, allowing it to recognise transactions above the current maximum of Sh35,000.
“In the near future we would hope that passengers would be able to purchase tickets to destinations such as London when we change the limit,” he stressed.
There also plans to link the web portals of both companies, to give customers choice to conduct their transactions.
When customers call to make a reservation which costs less than or equal to Sh35,000 inclusive of all taxes, they are given the M-PESA payment option which if they agree will be given the booking reference number, ticket value in Kenya Shillings inclusive of taxes and the business number via SMS.
Customers will then use the booking reference number to make payment through M-PESA using the business number 777777 and thereafter get a KQ confirmation receipt of payment in the web portal provided by Safaricom.
KQ will then send an SMS with a valid ticket number and an e-ticket.