By BONFACE OTIENO
National Carrier Kenya Airways is finally set to start direct flights from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Somali capital Mogadishu today after postponing the launch twice.
The national carrier had initially planned to start flying to Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu, on November 15.
But in a statement early this month, Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz said the airline would not fly to Somalia as was scheduled as it was still facing a delay in getting “additional operational requirements” to fly on the route.
On Monday, Mr Mikosz said the airline has entered into an agreement with ALS, a Kenyan company that provides insurance and air leasing services to other airlines to start flying the Mogadishu route.
“This arrangement covers the hire of an aircraft including the provision of a flight crew, maintenance and insurance,” he said in a statement.
“Kenya Airways has previously worked with ALS in a similar arrangement flying from Nairobi to Lokichogio.”
The daily nonstop flights will be leaving JKIA at 1:00pm to arrive in Mogadishu at 1:45 pm local time. It is then expected to depart Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu at 3:50 pm to arrive back in Nairobi at 5:35pm.
The airline will fly Embraer 145 plane which has a capacity of 50 passengers.
KQ declined to disclose how much a return air ticket will cost.
Previous indications showed that it would go for about Sh42,000 ($403) round trip and Sh22,000 ($218) one way.
Plans by KQ to resume Somalia flight comes a few days after the government opened talks with three neighboring countries to allow Kenya Airways’ (KQ) flights into their countries in a standoff that has caused diplomatic tension with Nairobi.
Transport and Infrastructure Secretary James Macharia last week said the talks, set to resolve all the outstanding issues between Kenya and three neighboring nations in the East African airspace, are expected to end in the next three weeks.
Burundi declined the Bombardier DHC8-Q400 aircraft last month on the basis that they had no business class seats while South Sudan and Djibouti flatly declined the national carrier’s applications.
The Bombadier planes cost less to operate, hence are preferred by KQ on short-haul flights.
Source: Daily Nation