Kenya Airways targets product overhaul ahead of U.S flights

Kenya Airways targets product overhaul ahead of U.S flights

Kenya Airways plans to overhaul its products and services ahead of the planned inaugural flight to the United States of America to gain a competitive edge.

This is expected to involve a number of initiatives ranging from the modernization and diversification of catering services to the rolling out of a Kenya centric uniform for the cabin crew.

Kenya Airways chief operating officer Jan de Vegt said the new initiative is aimed at increasing the attractiveness of the carrier to its clientele in an attempt to boost passenger uptake.

“We have to be a little bit more African. We are looking to place a local touch on our products and services,” Mr de Vegt said.

By targeting a differentiated service proposition to consumers, Kenya Airways will hope to obtain an edge on its regional competitors like Ethiopia Airlines and RwandAir which is set to commence flights to the U.S in August.

The airline expects to climb to the pinnacle of marketing destination Kenya to the U.S in the new route.

The move has been backed by Tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala who said the move would be key to Kenya attracting tourists from North America.

“We grew almost 18 percent to over 114,000 arrivals into the country and we expect that with the introduction of KQ flight daily, we should go to over 20 percent growth in that market,” Mr Balala said.

This was revealed during a luncheon hosted the airline hosted for visiting U.S under secretary of commerce Gilbert Kaplan and his delegation.

Mr Kaplan applauded Kenya Airways’ efforts towards achieving the category one status last year.

“I think it’s safe to say that Kenya airways is really doing its part as it finalizes preparations for the direct flights so I want to convey my sincere congratulations on that and appreciation for the strong US Kenya partnership on aviation,” Mr Kaplan said.

The government also weighed in its support for the airline to grow the economy.

Transport cabinet secretary James Macharia said ongoing negotiations for a public private partnership agreement between Kenya Airways and the Kenya Airports Authority would be key to the airline’s future success.

“We are going to invest much more in terms of making sure that Nairobi is a true hub and Kenya is a true hub. This will mean additional investments to make sure that business people that come into this country will see the value for their money,” Mr Macharia said.

Kenya is awaiting final clearance from the U.S Federal Aviation Administration, with Kenya Airways targeting a 10 percent increase in revenue from the direct flights.

Story by Mumbi Warui & Kepha Muiruri