Domestic airfare has nearly doubled ahead of Christmas on increased demand with some routes recording full bookings days to December 25.Air passengers are staring at hard times this festive season as the budget airlines to the popular destinations are sold out towards Christmas.
High airfare is the product of high demand for air travel during the festive season.More people want to travel and there is less capacity in the market. This is what has pushed up the cost.
The standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train service between Nairobi and Mombasa is also fully booked ahead of Christmas, forcing holiday makers to seek expensive alternatives like road and air transport.The bookings register shows that trains are fully booked in the days leading to December 25, signalling increased travel to Mombasa and offering a boost to hotels.
Lack of space on the SGR service, which charges Sh1, 000 for economy class and Sh3, 000 on the first class coaches, has benefited bus owners and airlines like Jambojet and Silverstone as families look to enjoy the holiday in the Coast region.
Airicket prices from Nairobi to Kisumu have risen to a peak of Sh14,800 from an average of Sh6,800 during week days and about Sh10,000 on weekends.
Jambojet has seen its passenger numbers grow year on year having increased by 18%. Increased demand on all our routes has seen the number of round trips grow from 2,522 to 3,312 for the financial year ending March 2016.
Increased demand for domestic travel has seen Jambojet contribute 25 percent passenger growth in the domestic market since it started operations.Currently, Jambojet serves Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Malindi, Ukunda and Lamu and has been credited for promoting local tourism as well as enhancing economic growth in business hubs across the counties.
The carriers’ main challenge has been convincing Kenyans to book early, which is vital to the low-cost pricing model.