Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kenya Airways increased Burundi flights

Kenya Airways has increased its flights from Nairobi to Bujumbura.

KQ is currently the only airline doing direct flights on this route. It has also increased flights from Nairobi to Kigali to three.

Since March 29, it has two flights daily. The first flight is at 7:50 am from Nairobi, arriving at Bujumbura at 8:30 am. The second is an evening flight leaving Nairobi at 10:30 pm and arriving at Bujumbura at 11:10 pm.

Previously, Kenya Airways was using a Boeing 737-700 on this route with 100 passengers in Economy class and 16 passengers in Business class. Now, the airline is using to Brazilian made Embraer 170 (E70) aircraft which carries 72 passengers, all in Economy class. In order to accommodate possibilities of increases in numbers, the Boeing 737-700 will still be in service; meaning there will be three departure times from Nairobi but only two flights per day.

This new development has been well received by the government of Burundi which gave Kenya Airways all the support they needed. For Burundi flights, this is very good news because there will be more people coming into Burundi given the increased capacity. It also gives Bujumbura a very positive image because the flight out is at 3:50am meaning there is the possibility of late night movements to and from the airport, a sure sign of peace and security.

Other benefits are the parking fees since the aircraft will be spending the night, accommodation for the crew, and handling charges.

For the passenger from Bujumbura, the benefit will be easier connections from Nairobi to the rest of the world since the early morning flight arrives at Nairobi at 6:30am. It also means late arrivals to Nairobi would still mean passengers can connect to Bujumbura and not have to spend a night in Nairobi.

However, some passengers complained that the E70 aircraft does not have the Business class, meaning they will be deprived of this service on the Nairobi-Bujumbura leg even if they may have paid for it. There have also been several complaints of high airfares.

Kenya Airways says there is a plan to lower regional travel rates across the board, this will doubtlessly be received favourably because the airline is still the carrier of the highest number of passengers in the region.