Kenya Airways’ (KQ) own low-cost carrier (LCC), Jambo Jet, is still expected to take to the skies over Kenya and across Eastern Africa by 2012, it was learned from a regular source in Nairobi.
The new airline will be a fully-owned subsidiary of Kenya Airways but operate under its own licenses, with its own fleet of aircraft sourced from KQ, its own staff, and under its own logo.
Kenya Airways had last year announced the intention to set up an LCC to counter the growing inroads other locally-incorporated airlines had made and in spite of a major fight back and recapturing market share, the powers that be at Embakasi are not content with just that, but are aiming at taking on the lower-cost competition head on.
Said a source working at JKIA: “If KQ is determined to launch their own low-cost version, it will be good for fares. They can use planes from the fleet on charter, on wet lease, or on dry lease as it suits them. They can fly domestic inside Kenya but also to EAC countries around us. For passengers, it is still within the same group, although no one knows by now if flights will earn miles, but we expect KQ will pull all strings to make their new venture attractive and a success by using existing installations and facilities. I would speculate that KQ might send their E170s to Jambo Jet, because by now, they are more keen on the larger E190 version, which is one of the most cost-effective aircraft of its size and class.”
The same source also confirmed that the next Embraer E190 is now expected to join the Kenya Airways fleet in May, i.e., next month already, before from July onwards, one such aircraft a month is expected to be delivered to KQ until the current firm order is concluded. More purchases of the same aircraft type, however, are said to be in the pipeline as Kenya Airways has pending options with Embraer, which can be turned into firm orders at the stroke of a pen… well almost anyway.