Local airlines are expanding to new routes as demand for air travel in parts of the country, benefiting Kenyans who are now enjoying lower fares on increased competition.
In the last three months airlines have launched new routes including the far-flung Wajir that for many years lagged in developed air transport.
Jambojet is flying to Wajir at Sh4,200 one way. This is the latest local route that they have introduced.
“There has been an increase in demand for local travel with some of the routes like Wajir requiring airlines to cut on the road travel that is common,” said Willem Hondius, chief executive of Jambojet.
Because of increased competition, air tickets have dropped to as low as Sh3,200 on some routes, from a high of Sh13,000 in a span of a few years.
Silverstone Air Services introduced Kisumu and Mombasa routes last year, targeting tourists on the Western and Coastal circuit. It launched commercial flights from Nairobi to Kisumu and Ukunda, having previously operated as a charter-only carrier.
Silverstone is currently operating five planes on its local routes. This month, it introduced daily flights to Lodwar, heightening rivalry on the route that is also served by Fly540, Safarilink and other carriers.
Silverstone is charging Sh8,500 one way to Lodwar, the same price that Skyward Express charges on the same route.
Nairobi witnessed an increase in domestic flight seats compared to international average in the first seven months of 2017 according to a travel analysis firm ForwardKeys.
Among the top 10 airports in Africa Nairobi is the only one that saw a bigger growth in domestic seat capacity, while Lagos slumped on both the local and international fronts.
Research shows that a total 147,129 passengers moved through the 10 small airports and airstrips.