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London air fares jump five times on Kenya travel ban

By GERALD ANDAE

Air ticket prices to the UK have risen fivefold as British expatriates and tourists scramble to exit Kenya ahead of the suspension of passenger flights between the two countries starting this Friday.

The mad rush for plane seats comes days after the Kenyan government banned all flights from the UK, effective April 9 to retaliate a move by London to add the country on its travel ‘red list’.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the ‘red list’ will be denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in government-approved hotels at their cost.

The passenger flights ban by Kenya has triggered a sharp rise in airfare from Nairobi to London as travellers race to avoid being stranded.

For instance, national carrier Kenya Airways is charging up to Ksh290,000 (about $2,679) for a one-way ticket to London on today’s flights (April 7) from the normal average of Ksh59,000 ($545)—a change it attributes to heightened demand for seats on the route.

“There are limited number of airlines flying to the UK currently and this means less seats. Now people have to get out of Nairobi before deadline,” an official of KQ told the Business Daily.

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Demand for travel from London to Nairobi, however, remains low, with a one-way ticket retailing for Ksh55,795 ($515), suggesting that few people are exiting Britain in the wake of Kenya’s ban.

KQ on Monday announced that it would suspend flights to the UK effective April 9 in line with the directive by the government.

“Kenya Airways announces the suspension of passenger flights between Kenya and the UK effective April 9, 2021 at 00:00 hours until further notice,” said the carrier in a statement.

KQ says its flights to the UK from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are fully booked today and tomorrow, with British Airways also indicating that bookings are unavailable for the two days.

With the suspension of flights between Nairobi and London,…

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