Agency roots for low air fares

Saturday February 20 2016

Kenya Airways flight at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa on November 3, 2013. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has called for speedy implementation of low air fares across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya Airways flight at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa on November 3, 2013. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has called for speedy implementation of low air fares across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has called for speedy implementation of low air fares across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

At an aviation meeting set for Friday next week, stakeholders have been asked to “present written or verbal submissions on reduction of airfares in the region.”

Last year, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said taxes on regional air fares will be lifted by mid this year. This would then set the pace for a regional open air sky. The plan could also help save Kenya Airways from dwindling revenues by providing a wider market where it operates as a domestic airline.

“The Northern Corridor Integration Projects – Air Transport cluster has been instructed to explore ways of reducing air fares in the region,” said director-general KCAA Captain Gilbert Kibe in a Friday publication on the dailies.

Mr Nicholas Bodo, Officer in charge of air transport, in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, said experts have been working on recommendations that can bring down infrastructure and fuel costs.

FAIRNESS IN PRICING

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Salva Kiir of South Sudan ordered aviation experts in the regional countries to reduce regional air fares.

The directive was given at the 11th Northern Corridor Integration Summit in Nairobi last month.

“Ensure that there is fairness in pricing of air tickets on all regional routes, specific attention be given to the Juba- Nairobi-Juba and Entebbe-Nairobi-Entebbe routes,” said a communiqué signed by the four leaders.

The arrangement is seen as the first move that would lead to the revival of loss making Kenya Airways. In the beginning KQ together with Rwanda Air will operate as domestic flights within the four countries, taking advantage of Uganda and South Sudan air space.

However, Ethiopia which joined the regional bloc last year is in the process of aligning its aviation systems to its neighbours’ and it will soon be part of the plan. This is likely to stiffen competition in the region despite opening up markets and exposing the carriers to more businesses.

The arrangement will then give Rwanda Air, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines exclusive rights to operate air traffic within territories that are not theirs.