KENYA AIRWAYS JAMBO JET TO BRING SHOCK AND AWE TO RIVALS
Kenya Airways own new low cost carrier is likely to take to the skies by late Q2 or earlyQ3 according to an announcement made by Dr. Titus Naikuni, KQs CEO and Group Managing Director.
The airline will commence operations with at least some planes of its own, thought to be in an all economy configuration but could also get access to KQs planes, likely the Embraer fleet, to complement operations in the early stages.
The news, given during the media and investors briefing earlier in the week, sent cold shivers down the spine of the competition, already reeling from KQs determined re-entry last year of the domestic market, where a bitter battle has been ensuing for dominance on the routes between Nairobi and Mombasa and Nairobi and Kisumu. While presently only one daily flights of Kenya Airways connects Nairobi with Malindi, for the time being one should add, Mombasa has seen the shuttle come back with up to 10 flights a day between the two cities and Kisumu is being served three times a day. Privately owned airlines on these most important domestic jet routes saw in addition to this capacity increase the challenge to their own market shares via the fares, as KQ introduced stand by fares and a range of low fares not just competing with other LCC operators but on occasions undercutting them. A superior loyalty programme for frequent flyers added to the attraction of flying with Kenya Airways and the arrival on the scene next year of Jambo Jet will only fuel the cut throat competition on key domestic routes.
Expectations are now that the new airline will enter the market with a combination of shock and awe, by offering state of the art aircraft, a well oiled operations machinery to back them up and extraordinarily low fares, though little if any inflight service or amenities.
When they closed Flamingo a few years back it was a failed experience then and their distribution in the market and using turboprop aircraft was not taken up by travelers the way they had hoped. I think they learned lessons from that failure and even chose another name, signaling a fresh start, a serious start. There are lots of ways Jambo Jet can save money in a range of areas. That allows lower fares. Jambo is aimed to increase group market share for KQ but also to disturb other operators and for them it will be a fight for survival from month to month. I think when this venture takes off it will come with a big bang, very low fares and attractive departure times, good marketing and the backing of a big organization. Yes, it will cause shock and awe in the market amongst competitors and travelers said a regular source when discussing the options Kenya Airways had with the entry of Jambo Jet. Watch this space over the coming months for more emerging news and how the new battle for the skies over Kenya will unfold.