- The mad race for plane seats comes days after the Kenyan government banned all flights from the UK, effective April 9 in response to London’s decision to add the country to its’ red list ” of trips.
- Travelers arriving in the UK from ‘Red List’ countries will be refused entry, while returning Britons will be subject to 10 days of mandatory quarantine at government approved hotels in their costs.
Airfare prices to the UK have quintupled as British expatriates and tourists scramble to leave Kenya before passenger flights between the two countries are suspended from Friday.
The mad race for plane seats comes days after the Kenyan government banned all flights from the UK, effective April 9 in response to London’s decision to add the country to its’ red list ” of trips.
Travelers arriving in the UK from ‘Red List’ countries will be refused entry, while returning Britons will be subject to 10 days of mandatory quarantine at government approved hotels in their costs.
Kenya’s ban on passenger flights has triggered a sharp increase in air fares from Nairobi to London as travelers scramble to avoid being stranded.
For example, the national airline Kenya Airways charges up to 290,000 shillings for a one-way ticket to London on today’s flights (April 7) compared to the normal average of 59,000 shillings ($ 55) – a change that ‘he attributes to an increased demand for seats. on the route.
“There are currently a limited number of airlines serving the UK which means fewer seats. Now people have to leave Nairobi before the deadline, ”a KQ official told Business Daily.
Demand for travel from London to Nairobi, however, remains low, with a one-way ticket priced at 55,795 shillings, suggesting few people are leaving Britain as a result of Kenya’s ban.
KQ announced on Monday that it would suspend flights to the UK from April 9, as per the government directive.
“Kenya Airways announces the suspension of passenger flights between Kenya and the United Kingdom from April 9, 2021 at 00:00 until further notice,” the carrier said in a statement.
KQ says its flights to the UK from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are full today and tomorrow, with British Airways also stating that reservations are not available for the two days.
With the suspension of flights between Nairobi and London, passengers would have had an alternative connection via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines.
Sadly, Ethiopian Airlines has also suspended flights from the UK, after Ethiopia was added to the country’s Covid-19 ‘red list’.
Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates, which are used by passengers in transit to the UK, have both been on the red list for some time.
The lack of sufficient capacity has seen KQ increase the number of flights on the UK route. The airline is operating five flights today (April 7) to London, which were full by the deadline.
KQ operated daily flights to London until recently, when it reduced frequencies to around three per week on low demand due to strict Covid-19 regulations.
JKIA is a major regional hub, with passengers from other regions coming to the facility to connect flights to Asia, Europe or the Middle East.
More than 1.5 million passengers pass through JKIA, according to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
British Airways, which is due to suspend flights after April 9, was charging 59,000 shillings as of April 6 for a one-way economy seat to London.
However, the carrier’s website indicated seat unavailability today and tomorrow, implying it is full on those days.
“Bookings have been very strong as everyone wants to travel out of the country before the deadline,” said a British Airways official.
At the moment, only KQ and the UK carrier operate direct flights between Nairobi and London.
In addition to the ban on passenger flights, Kenya has also ordered all non-citizens coming from the UK to self-isolate for 14 days before they can be admitted to the country, which will drastically reduce the number of tourists visiting Kenya before summer vacation. .
Arrivals to the UK must also take two Covid-19 tests, one on the second day of quarantine and another on the eighth day.
“The UK government’s decision to ‘Red List’ Kenya and stop all travel from Kenya for residents of Kenya and those transiting through Kenya to the UK will have far-reaching and far-reaching consequences on Kenya and the United Kingdom. trade, travel, tourism security cooperation among other sectors, ”said a Kenyan government statement.
The UK restrictions are said to be based on concerns that Kenya had not closed the routes through which the South African variant of the coronavirus, known as B.1.351, entered the country.
Diplomats have expressed anger at what they believe is bad timing.
The latest sharp hike in air fares reflects the state of travel a year ago when expats were caught in a race to leave Kenya in limbo following the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Last April, foreigners paid up to three times the normal price of tickets to return to their home country, as airlines offer charter flights for repatriation.