A Member of County Assembly in Mandera has vowed to petition local flight agents to have the cost of flight tickets lowered.
Mr Abdullahi Guliye, the Morothile Ward MCA, warned that local flight agents have been extorting money from innocent locals wanting to fly to Nairobi or to Mandera.
“We are having a problem with these flight agents from Mandera and time has come that an action has to be taken to see them reduce the high charges they are imposing on passengers,” said Mr Guliye.
He said unlike in Wajir, a neighbouring county where air ticket charges are reasonable, agents in Mandera are charging exorbitant fees.
“In Wajir, an air ticket costs between Sh6,000 and Ksh8,000 but in Mandera we are paying between Sh15,000 and Sh16,000 because of corrupt brokers,” lamented Mr Guliye.
The MCA threatened to call for a boycott of flight travel in order to force a reduction of the charges. He also said he intends to move to court over the same issue.
“I will rally locals to boycott flights operating in Mandera until the costs are lowered or I petition the agents and the flight companies coming into Mandera in a law court,” he said.
There are more than ten flight booking agents in Mandera competing for only one flight company rendering services in the town.
I flight agent who spoke to Nation but declined to be named said a crowded business platform is to blame for the high costs of air tickets.
“We cannot reduce the costs because we are many and each one of us has a mouth to feed at the end of the day,” he said.
The agent said out of the Shh15,000 collected for one to fly to Nairobi, the flight company gets Sh8,000 while the rest is divided among the brokers.
“This is illegal business where a few people take advantage of others and we need to end it before most people are drained dry,” said Mr Guliye.
FLIGHT TO DUBAI
A return ticket for Mandera is almost the same cost as flying to Dubai and back from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“We are within Kenya and look at how much we are paying to get to Mandera when in other places people are paying reasonable amounts to get to their destinations,” the MCA lamented.
He accused the agents of taking advantage of the insecurity in Mandera to extort unsuspecting travellers.
“Mandera is more secure than before and no one should be thinking of reaping from insecurity at this moment in time. This cartel operating in the name of flight agents has to be dealt with for good,” he said.
Mandera County Government has said there is no enough land for expansion of the airstrip to allow more planes to land in order to reduce the cost of tickets.