The airline has been granted an initial one-year licence by the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority which will enable the carrier to introduce ply international flights to Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, Bujumbura, Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
The development could help the airline’s loss-making parent company, Kenya Airways, by warding off competition.
However, Jambojet’s debut on the international stage raises competition for other regional carriers such as Fly540, Rwandair, PrecisionAir and Ethiopian Airlines, as well as Fastjet who has also recently announced plans to start operations in Kenya as part of an attempt to become a major budget carrier on the continent, despite its base in London.
Jambojet has been flying to Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa from its base in Nairobi since its launch in April last year – all of which were yielded to it by Kenya Airways. The airline operates a fleet of three Boeing B737-300’s also leased from Kenya Airways, and has been leveraging relatively cheap fares in order to boost passenger traffic. Passengers pay for all extras including food, baggage and seat selection so the airline can charge a lower initial ticket price to increase its passenger traffic.
With Kenya Airways recording losses over the past two years, the low-cost subsidiary could prove vital to the company’s future, and in regaining profitability.
There is also speculation that the Kenya Airways flights between Nairobi and Entebbe may be yielded to Jambojet as a codeshare agreement between the two airlines, especially off-peak when there is more point-to-point traffic on the route than connecting traffic.