Kenyan Budget Carrier’s regional expansion drive gains pace

Kenya’s low-cost air carrier Jambo Jet just celebrated five years of existence in April. The airline has maintained an upward trajectory since it began operating on 1st April 2014. Its flight destinations have increased from only 2 cities in Kenya – Mombasa, and Kisumu – to 7 cities within and outside the country. Its staff numbers have grown tenfold from 20 employees in 2014 to 211 workers in 2019. As of August 2018, the airline had flown more than 2.5 million passengers in four years of operating.

In an interview with the Kenyanwallstreet, Jambojet’s CEO Allan Kilavuka said that the company is looking for opportunities to expand regionally emphasizing that the expansion program is guided by market demands. He is confident about the company’s growth given that their product is ‘compelling and provides passengers with an opportunity to fly safely, reliably, and affordable.’

“Before we started flying five years ago, flying was for the privileged. We are the pioneer low-cost airline. So we try and avail the service to a large [size] of the population,” he said.

According to the former GE Executive, airline tickets in Kenya are quite expensive due to the costly fuel prices, high amount of taxation, currency fluctuations, and the high cost of labour particularly for the technical and highly skilled personnel.

“We are very exposed to external factors, and the aviation industry is very volatile,” he explained.

Expansion programs are quite expensive for most airlines. Jambojet intends to use internal and external funds to finance its growth journey. The budget airline maintains enough cash flow to run its daily operational expenses.
Allan Kilavuka says that the secret to Jambo Jets’ steady growth is their ability to act quickly to changes in the aviation industry and highly skilled and motivated staff.

Full Interview;