A study by regulators across 24 African countries has placed Kenya Airways at the top of the list of the continent’s most expensive airlines.
The research was undertaken by competition authorities under the African Competition Forum (ACF) and involved monitoring the ticketing websites of airlines operating in Africa such as Kenya Airways, South African Airways, Ethiopia Airlines and Air France.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) was among the regulators represented. The findings indicate that Kenya Airways charges the highest average fares on domestic and international flights.
“Kenya Airways has the highest average passenger price per kilometre (APPK) for all its domestic, regional and international routes,” the report observed.
The data was gathered between November 19 and March 2020 before the global aviation industry came to a standstill as the Covid-19 pandemic emerged.
It found that even on routes where it had competition, Kenya Airways more often than not charged more than its competitors. It brought to light the unique positioning of new entrants such as Uganda Airlines to eat into the market share of costly airlines.
For instance, the Nairobi-Paris route served by Air France and Kenya Airways had KQ charging Ksh5,000 more.
On the Nairobi-Johannesburg route served by South African Airways and Kenya Airways, the report contrasted the difference in pricing for economy and business class tickets for the two airlines.
“Prices charged by two operators on this route are visibly different for both economy and business class categories. Kenya Airways prices are 21 percent higher than SAA prices for economy class tickets.”
“For business tickets, SAA prices are significantly higher than Kenya Airways prices. Kenya Airways on average charges R14,089 (Sh106,000) for a business class ticket, while SAA charges R22,954.93 (Sh172,796) for the same class. SAA’s upper-end tickets sell at around 39 percent more than Kenya Airways prices,” the report noted.
Kenya Airways continued its 8-year loss-making run in the half year ended June, reporting a net loss of Ksh11.4 billion down from Sh14.3 billion. Its comparatively high ticket prices have long been cited by critics as being among contributors to the firm’s poor performance.
In September, the airline notably announced discounted ticket prices of up to 30% on most of its routes as part of its plan to bounce back from the shocks of Covid-19.