New airline turns heat on Nairobi-Kisumu carriers

A start-up airline is set to launch its maiden flight on the Nairobi-Kisumu route Thursday, stepping up competition for established carriers such as Jambojet, Kenya Airways and Fly540 who operate on the route.

Britex Air Services, whose maiden flight from Wilson Airport takes off today, will operate two return flights per day using two 30-seater Embraer 120 recently acquired from Brazil.

Britex managing director Dick Opiyo, who is also a former manager at the defunct Jetlink Express, says the airline has partnered with Reliance Air Charters that will provide crew to the two planes and service them.

“Our target market is the businesspeople who want to fly to Kisumu or to Nairobi for the day, do business, and still have ample time to catch the return flight home,” he said in an interview.

“To begin with, we shall have two return flights which leave our Wilson Airport base at 6.45am and 6pm and return to Nairobi shortly after landing. When demand picks, we shall increase our frequencies.”

A spot-check by of the airlines’ online booking portals shows that a one-way Britex ticket from Nairobi to Kisumu on July 30 will cost a minimum of Sh5,200, inclusive of taxes.

A similar trip on Kenya Airways, Jambojet (its low-cost subsidiary) and Fly540 is going for Sh7,635, Sh4,200 and Sh6,770 respectively — making ticket prices a potential point of rivalry.

These prices vary as the date of travel nears and available seats.

“Soon we intend to introduce Kisumu-Mombasa with short stop overs in at Wilson to pick or drop off passengers,” said Mr Opiyo.

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