Days after Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority granted one of its carriers, Fly540 license to commence international operations, the agency has also licensed two other domestic carriers, Jambojet and Jetways airlines right to being international operations.
According to businessdailyafrica.com, with the approval competition among air operators flying foreign destinations is set to heighten as the local aviation regulator continues to license airlines for international routes.
The move is likely to see passengers pay less in a move set to hit hard the carriers’ revenues as the airlines will be forced to offer friendly packages.
The Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) executive secretary Eutychus Waithaka told Shipping & Logistics that in as much as the move is good, the challenge is that airlines will be required to commence operations six months upon receiving the licence.
The carriers that have been granted approval to fly to international destinations include Fly 540, Jambojet as well as Jetways airlines among other carriers.
Fly 540 was last week granted a licence to start international flights. This follows a decision by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to allow Fly 540 to expand its services to other African countries and the United Arab Emirates for the next three years.
The carrier that plies domestic routes such as Ukunda, Malindi, and Kisumu will now operate international scheduled air services for passengers, cargo and mail to and from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.
It will also operate international scheduled air services for passengers, cargo and mail to and from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airport in Nairobi.
The airline will also fly to Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Dubai as well as return to regional routes including Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salam.
Jambojet last July received an air service licence (ASL) from KCAA , paving the way for the low-cost carrier to commence cargo flights in the international market.
KCAA, through a gazette notice, varied the airlines’ existing licence to fly cargo in three new routes as well as passengers using Boeing 737, DHC8, and ATR72 aircrafts.
Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, had applied to fly cargo and passengers to Lusaka, Lubumbashi and Bangui from JKIA.
Jambojet was in May 2016 granted regulatory approval to fly to 16 routes including Entebbe, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Kigali, Juba and Bujumbura.
“The moment you see an airline applying for a permit to fly a certain route, it shows that they have intentions to expand their wings in those routes. As to when it will happen depends on whether KCAA will accept or deny them the licences applied for,” the KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe said in a past interview.
Aviation has been one of the hardest hit industries by the coronavirus.
In Kenya, some domestic carriers have projected a slightly reduced passenger numbers in December in a move set to hit their revenues at a time demand for air travel has remained sluggish due to the pandemic.
African airlines, which were already flying in turbulent skies even before the first case of Covid-19 was reported on the continent, had lost a total of Sh860 billion as at May 2020, according to a report by the Impact Assessment Analysis.