Jambojet banked on the enhancement of its product and a push into new and existing markets as it seeks to compete in the more challenging milieu of the future.
This is according to the carrier’s top two executives speaking during the recently concluded AFRAA’s Aviation Stakeholders Convention in Nairobi.
While low-cost carriers (LCCs) emphasize cost reduction to compete with larger, more established carriers, the most common cost-cutting strategy is owning relatively newer aircraft of a single type as evidenced by Jambojet’s young fleet of 6 Dash-8 aircraft.
“Our fleet comprised of 3 B737-300. In 2015 we decided to re-fleet to Dash 8-400 because of its reliability, versatility, and lower operating costs. This also made it possible to efficiently operate more frequencies in the existing routes.”
The Kenyan low-cost carrier’s business model has served the company and has helped ‘revolutionize’ domestic travel in the country attracting 30 percent of first-time flyers.
“We set out to revolutionize flying, and so far flown close to 5 million passengers, 30% of whom are first-time fliers. Our focus has always been on the customer, enhancing their experience with bespoke products and offering great service”
“The domestic market has grown by about 43% since 2014, from a paltry 1.4million passengers p.a, to 2.1million passengers in 2019. The market is growing as more passengers understand the benefits of flying, and more players come into the market”
Like many carriers both domestic and outside the country, the KQ wholly-owned subsidiary faced a tumultuous period during the pandemic that forced the airline to seek more agility to remain airborne.
“We had to do things differently when planning new routes. Traffic was suppressed due to the pandemic, people had changed the way they move and regulations were constantly changing. We had to work faster and be more agile with our planning,” noted the CEO.
But the airline did not feel shy about looking for more opportunities for its growth.
“Covid-19 did not hinder our growth. We focused on underserved markets and started Mombasa (MBA) to Kisumu (KIS)/ Eldoret (ELD) routes in October 2020. We then launched Nairobi (NBO) to (GOM) and NBO/MBA to Lamu (LAU) routes in September 2021. This was possible because of the agility of the Jambojet people.”
Scheduled passenger operations account for the bulk of Jambojet’s revenues, boasting about 42% domestic market share with a recent opening of its secondary hub In Mombasa’s Moi International Airport (MBA), the carrier will be banking on cargo operations to create highly predictable revenue streams.