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BA could increase capacity on Kenya route

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – British Airways is reviewing its Kenya route and could increase its flight frequency or  introduce larger planes.

British Airways Country Manager George Mawadri said on Wednesday that global and local economic recovery had seen the demand for flights between Kenya and the UK increase prompting the carrier to re-assess its offering.

"At the moment there is a case for increase in capacity and Kenya is currently under review and this might happen by the end of the year," Mr Mawadri said.

One way the airline is seeking to grow the passenger numbers is by increasing the number of daily flights between London and Nairobi from the current seven daily flights to 10.

"The good thing about increasing the frequency is that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority is always willing to give you the green light if you can show that you can handle it," he said.

Mr Mawadri said the other option would be to get a bigger plane to service the route.

British Airways currently operates a Boeing 777 with a seat capacity of 280 passengers. He said the airline would look at bringing in a Boeing 747, which has a higher seat capacity at 320 passengers.

"The aircraft we are operating at the moment doesn\’t seem to be giving us the exact capacity that we are looking for," he said.

BA, which has been operating locally for 80 years, views the Nairobi route as a profitable one for the airline as it serves as regional hub for East Africa.

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Recent data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that passenger numbers are expected to grow by 800 million by 2012. Passenger demand for Africa is poised to grow by 7.7 percent within the same period as airlines rush to capitalise on economic growth on the continent.

Mr Mawadri however said existing congestion at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport was slowing down airlines plans to grow their activity in the country.

"We have already given our view on what we think could be best for JKIA and I hope that they will take it on board," he said.

JKIA is currently undergoing major re-construction to increase the number of runways and passenger terminals.

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