NAIROBI, Kenya (eTN) – Kenya Airways (KQ) has officially launched three new apron buses that will be used to shuttle passengers between the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) lounges and their aircraft.
The new buses also mark a new page in advertising partnership with Africa’s leading cross-continental mobile operator Zain, until recently known as Celtel.
A Chinese company called Xinfa Airport Equipments, which is a leading global supplier of apron buses, supplied the three buses. Each of the bus has a capacity of 115 passengers.
The investment is expected to facilitate safe, convenient and quick movement of passengers across the airport, airline officials say.
Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni said third party airlines contracted to the airline will benefit from the Apron Transport Services and that “other interested airlines will also receive the service at a fee.”
Passengers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport have had to brave unfriendly weather conditions including rains, chilly or hot weather to board their flights.
“The construction and opening of new remote parking bays which are far away from the airport terminal buildings has made the buses an absolute necessity,” said Naikuni.
This development comes at a time when KQ has embarked on a strategy to improve its people and systems. However, the airline’s fast growth is being constrained by congestion at its hub of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which has seen tremendous growth in aircraft movements and passenger traffic beginning 2003.
The latest carriers to launch flights to Nairobi include Air Arabia, Linhas Aereas (LAM) Mozambique, Virgin Atlantic Airlines and Nasair. Delta Airlines of US plans to commence flights to Nairobi in 2009.
Naikuni said Kenya Airways had no immediate plans to introduce similar services at the Moi International Airport Mombasa and Kisumu Airport.
In most airports, the airport authorities run apron bus transport. In the case of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Naikuni said the airline held discussions with the Kenya Airports Authority and obtained their go-ahead to purchase the buses.
Apron transport vehicles are equipped with luggage space and radio communication services.
In line with keeping to international airline ancillary revenue trends, Kenya Airways has partnered with Zain, which has a Pan-African footprint in a commercial advertising venture.
Zain has taken up paid advertising on the new buses ads as well as in the in-flight entertainment and in-flight magazine.