According to a report by travel analysis firm forward keys, the country’s capital city’s-domestic air travel seat capacity has risen by 22 per cent in the last seven months compared to international average. Compared to the top 10 airports in Africa, Nairobi is the only one that saw a bigger growth in domestic seat capacity, while Lagos slumped on both the local and international fronts.
“Most of the other airports in Africa’s top 10 are seeing a healthy growth in capacity, which is more international than domestic. However, the most notable exception to this trend is Nairobi, which is seeing a 22 per cent boost in domestic capacity,” ForwardKeys.
The country’s aviation space has seen increased activity on both domestic and international routes. The latest entrant, Britex Air Services, announced new flights between Nairobi and Kisumu last month. Jambojet added weekly flights between Nairobi and Eldoret citing increased passenger demand.
In July, Fly 540 and Fly SAX set up offices at Isiolo International Airport ahead of its opening for domestic flights. Olivier Jager, ForwardKeys CEO says, “The growth in air travel to Africa is impressive.
‘‘However, it is notable that consumer demand and airline investment is greater in travel to African countries from outside the continent than it is between African countries.”
“The total number of visitors arriving through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)and Moi International Airport (MIA) increased to 67,531 in May 2017 from 67,084 in April 2017,” Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates.
In April this year, the number of passengers who landed at JKIA increased from 179,511 to 179,571 in May, while passengers who embarked increased from 180,388 persons to 180,431 in the same period.
On the international front, French national carrier Air France announced that it would resume flights between Paris and Nairobi from next March after an 18-year hiatus, signaling rising travel demand on routes connecting the Kenyan capital to global cities.Oman Air marked its re-entry into the market in March this year. The carrier had quit the route to focus on Zanzibar.
Morocco national carrier Royal Air Maroc increased flights on the Casablanca-Nairobi route while Emirates Airlines added an extra flight in June, bringing the total to three daily flights.Lufthansa increased flights between Franfurt and Nairobi to six per week. Turkish Airlines will increase flights from Istanbul and Mombasa.
Switzerland’s largest carrier, Swiss International AirLines, raised the number of flights between Zurich and Nairobi from five per week to six.