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Jambojet ventures into cargo business as it eyes pie of the regional market

KENYA – Budget carrier Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, will start cargo operations beginning February 2022 after receiving regulatory approvals from the aviation regulator Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to fly goods on its passenger flights on both local and regional destinations.

The airline said that cargo operations starting in the second week of February will target regional routes such as Goma in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jambojet, which has been in operations since April 2014, will also ferry cargo to its local markets that include Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret and Malindi.

It will use the Dash 8-Q400 type of aircraft that can accommodate up to 78 passengers and up to 1.2 tonnes of cargo on a single trip that it is currently using to ferry passengers on its routes to transport cargo on its routes.

“Jambojet has received regulatory approvals from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to start ferrying cargo across local and regional markets where we operate and we are set to start next month,” said Jambojet managing director Karanja Ndegwa in an interview with Business Daily.

Jambojet currently has passenger operations in routes such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Lamu, Ukunda, Malindi and Nairobi.

The carrier flew 730,000 passengers in 2021 out of a total target of 855,000 passengers and this was mainly in partnership with hoteliers and other tourism players in Kenyan Coast that saw it offer low-cost tickets and packages to increase its market share.

It shelved plans to restart direct flights to Entebbe and Kigali in 2021 due to strict Covid-19 containment measures, which have reduced demand on the route.

The airline plans to start cargo business on both local and regional routes barely a few months after it launched operations on the Goma route.

Jambojet started flying the route on September 10, 2021, becoming the first airline to directly connect the capital of North Kivu province and Nairobi.

DRC market is currently served by the national carrier Congo Airways, which flies to eight domestic destinations, including Goma, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.

The DRC route is becoming one of the favorite routes for carriers with airlines taking advantage of poor connectivity in that market.

Kenya, just like many other countries, is looking to leverage on the DRC market by diversifying its export destinations, particularly at a time the Covid-19 induced disruption has brought into focus the need for deeper inter-regional trade.

The airline is taking advantage of the huge opportunities the African market has to offer and the rising demand for air connectivity in the region.

“There is a growing demand for air transport across the continent, with the International Air Transport Association projecting that Africa will become one of the fastest-growing aviation regions within the next 20 years, with an average annual expansion rate of almost five percent. We, as Jambojet, are keen to be part of this growth,” said Jambojet in a past interview.

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