Kenya Airways chief executive Allan Kilavuka sees “very promising” bookings for the summer as the carrier steps up operations out of the pandemic, though demand for intra-African travel is lagging the recovery seen on its European routes.
The airline’s capacity was down about two-thirds on pre-crisis levels last year amid the continued impact of the pandemic, as it carried 2.2 million passengers.
However, Covid-related travel restrictions have gradually been easing and speaking to FlightGlobal in Doha during the IATA AGM, Kilavuka says he sees bright signs for the coming summer.
“If I were to compare now and pre-Covid in 2019, I would say on domestic we are pretty much 100%, but that is only 15% of our business,” he says. “International is an average of 70% and 75% at the moment, but if you look into the summer, it is looking very, very healthy, it is looking very promising.
”Most of our flights are full for summer and the only thing that is beating us down is the fuel costs and hopefully there will not be any resurgence of the pandemic.”
Around 60% of the carrier’s activity is on regional routes within Africa, and Kilavuka notes that travel in this market is not yet as strong as the airline is seeing on its European services. “Intra-African is lagging behind, but I attribute that to the economic status of the population in Africa at the moment, because we were quite hard hit because of Covid and Africa is still lagging when it comes to vaccinations, so that kind of slows us down.”