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BA mulls higher capacity to Nairobi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – British Airways announced on Wednesday that it was considering increasing capacity to Nairobi.

This follows a rise in demand which has seen a seat factor average of 95 percent since April this year.

British Airways Kenya Country Manager George Mawadri said that the airline had in the recent past experienced an increase in passenger loads indicating huge demand.

Mr Mawadri attributed this increase in demand to a sudden spike in American travel especially by missionaries and NGOs.

"From this financial year, British Airways has witnessed an increased capacity for the Nairobi route and consequently, we are as a company weighing whether to introduce bigger aircraft or increase frequencies," he said.

Cargo on the other hand has reported an impressive 70 percent growth in volumes for the airline in Kenya.

From an African perspective, Africa\’s air traffic growth outpaces the world.

In 2009 for example, passenger demand measured in revenue per seat per kilometre grew by 6.8 percent compared to the global average of 3.5 percent.

Further, Africa\’s international traffic has risen 6.6 percent since 1990 and 7.7 percent since 2005. Traffic in West and East Africa in particular is being driven by foreign interest in oil and gas projects.

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Mr Mawadri did however state that corporate travel has not recovered to pre-recession levels. One of the contributing factors is stricter travel policies enacted by companies.

He said that while the airline believes that there will be a full recovery, the upturn will be slow given there is still some uncertainty about the speed and sustainability of the recovery.

British Airways has just announced its half year results which put the company back in the black after two years of record losses.

The company announced a profit before tax of £158 million compared to a loss of £292 million the previous year. Revenue was up by £345 million.

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