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Industrial action by pilots taught us that we will benefit more from collaboration – KQ boss

Kenya Airways is advocating for a more Pan African approach to the business which requires more partnerships and collaboration among African airlines because the national carriers stand to benefit more from cooperation rather than competition. 

Julius Thairu, the airlines Chief Commercial and Customer Officer said that the partnership should incorporate as many African airlines as possible including Uganda Airlines. “Our recent experience with industrial action by pilots taught us that we will benefit more from collaboration because it’s African airlines that came to our rescue. In other markets collaboration is the order of the day in this business” he said.  

He added that if there is competition, it should be on customer experience and efficiencies. 

In July this year, Kenya Airways and South African Airways (SAA) signed a codeshare agreement as the two African carriers begin to deepen commercial ties.

The airlines announced a planned partnership in September 2021 and finalized an agreement two months later. The framework seeks to increase passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and trade.

The new codeshare arrangement covers services to Cape Town, Dar Es Salaam, Durban, Entebbe, Harare, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi, effective immediately.

The airlines plan to expand the partnership to Douala, Juba, Kilimanjaro, Lusaka and Zanzibar, subject to government approval, as well as adding destinations in Ghana and Nigeria. Further codeshare points are also being evaluated.

Thairu who was on a port call said that the strike which had affected 10,000 travelers across the world including Uganda, had been resolved and both parties are now required to follow the laid down process of resolving disputes. “We have fully recovered and we are flying consistently, 3-4 daily flights on time to Entebbe and we are hoping to increase these as the demand rises especially during the festive season”.

He added that his visit to Uganda was timely because he is able to apologize directly to customers for inconveniences caused by the strike. He promised that the Airline will invest more to enhance customer experience in Kampala and Entebbe offices, which will rebranding and include hiring more staff to respond to growing demand on travel especially from leisure and corporate clients. 

“We are poised to continue growing our business in 2023 and we hope to have 5 daily flights to Entebbe, 14 weekly flights to London, 4 daily flights to Johannesburg and two daily flights to Dubai”.  

Jackson Kamande, the airlines Head of Pricing and Revenue Management confirmed that Kenya Airways was pursuing a more innovative and customer friendly price structure that would offer more benefits and convenience to travelers.  “Our holiday packages are particularly attractive to families because they will include travel, accommodation and travel insurance” he said.    

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