Regulator wades into KQ, Fastjet price war

Thursday February 11 2016

Ebola outbreak and Kenya Airways’ plan to turn to low-cost carriers have also been cited as reasons contributing to the low consumption of jet fuel. PHOTO | FILE

The airline regulator has dived into the price war between Fastjet and Kenya Airways demanding that the former sets its prices inclusive of all taxes involved. PHOTO | FILE 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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The airline regulator has dived into the price war between Fastjet and Kenya Airways demanding that the former sets its prices inclusive of all taxes involved.

Budget carrier Fastjet has prices exempting tax, luggage charges and other levies. The prices appear low luring consumers as KQ struggles to keep up by cutting its prices by 30 per cent. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has now ordered Fastjet to include ‘taxes, fees and other charges’ on its pricing, stating that the law requires that passengers are accurately informed.

“It has come to the notice of the authority that airlines continue to advertise in the local print media prices that are exclusive of taxes, fees and other charges,” said the director general KCAA Gilbert Kibe in a notice in the dailies.

Fastjet and Kenya Airways are at the peak of prolonged price wars that have forced the latter to lower its charges for the Dar-Nairobi route with the hope of retaining customers along the way.

However, the majority of fliers have fallen prey to Fastjet’s ‘low’ prices whose offers are Sh5,500 for a one way trip and Sh8,000 for the Kilimanjaro-Nairobi. KQ’s lowest prices on one way for the same route are around Sh32,000 inclusive of taxes.

Fastjet East Africa General Manager Jimmy Kibati says the airline targets first time flyers. “The travelling public pays prohibitively high fares for regional air travel.”

“The consumer protection Act 2012 is also clear on this matter. Any further advertising without adhering to the above provisions shall be dealt with according to existing legislation,” the KCAA states.