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Kenya Airways running on empty

Released at: 09:31, 12/08/2015

Kenya Airways running on empty

Lack on interest on Hanoi - Nairobi route sees carrier seek permission to conduct ongoing flights to Guangzhou.

by Son Ho

In recent correspondence sent to the Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, Kenya Airways said that the results of its direct flights between Hanoi and the Kenyan capital of Nairobi have been very disappointing. “We have taken several measures to build a successful route, but the results are far from satisfactory and the carrier is incurring serious losses,” according to Mr. Marco van Vliet, Head of Network Planning at Kenya Airways.

Kenya Airways also said that it is currently paying high costs for operating in Hanoi. It has therefore requested the Ministry of Transport give it Fifth Freedom rights on the route between Hanoi and Guangzhou, which it says is necessary for it to maintain the only direct flights from Vietnam to Africa.

Fifth Freedom rights allow an airline to carry passengers between foreign countries and the airline’s home country, flying to a second country and from that country to a third country, and so on.

In the letter regarding Fifth Freedom rights, Kenya Airways said it will cooperate with its partner, Vietnam Airlines, to create a schedule for the route.

However, a representative from Kenya Airways in Hanoi was unaware of any issue. “We are still operating the route as usual,” the representative said, with no additional information revealed.

The current ticket price for Hanoi to Nairobi is around VND15.054 million ($690) for economy class and VND50.943 million ($2,335) for business class. This is not expensive but with the limited travel demand between Vietnam and Africa it has been difficult for Kenya Airways to fill all of the 250 seats on its Boeing 787.

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