Why our national carrier must keep on flying
On arrivalCompare the prices on many competitive routes and you will see KQ is often higher. KQ’s home base has the worst airport experience with airport gangways that don’t work, or you disembark on a gangway only to be transferred to buses. In the terminals we have porters who disappear on arrival. Somebody please put them on commission. Some argue that this is the responsibility of the Kenya Airport Authority. But the thing is, KQ’s clients are being mishandled. I know that KQ staff are disgruntled, overworked and underpaid, and that’s why we send the GSU to sort them out when they go on strike.
Cluster approachAtlanta gets 100 million and is the busiest airport in the world. Last year Dubai had 27 million tourists. Every year this keeps increasing consistently. Think about it. Kenya’s tourists in 2016 were 1.3 million and we are still dreaming of when we will get to 3 million. This is Emirates biggest role – bringing people to Dubai. KQ is the answer to our tourism problems. Tourism is extremely important to our country. Tourism must be approached from a Cluster approach – airline, visas, hotels, attractions,entertainment, local transport and marketing. We have to make the trans-Africa transiting passengers stop over in Nairobi. Why should a Nigerian traveling on KQ stop over in Nairobi? Make it easy to come to Kenya and give them a reason for stopping here. The focus should be on entertainment and shopping. There are two types of shopping, personal and commercial. I doubt whether Nigerians and other Africans want to come and see our animals since they have theirs. They want entertainment and shopping. We need to promote our malls and our shopping areas like Gikomba and River Road. Today Kenyans are going shopping in Dar and Uganda.
SEE ALSO :Man sues KQ for missing flightFor the business people we need to refocus on promoting existing and new Special Economic Zones to sell cars and other duty free goods – That’s why I keep harping about Dongo Kundu and the setting up of Special Economic Zones. These are not fixes that can be done overnight. They must be part of a bigger plan. This may take years but its something that must be done in a focused manner. This strategy requires a resurgent KQ to bring in the buyers. KQ is thus an integral part of promoting Kenya and advancing our economy. We cannot afford to close it down. I was there when Emirates started in 1985 with a single leased plane and I have seen what it has done for the economy of Dubai. We need to take a ten year perspective and get to work. KQ must keep flying. Mr Shahbal is Chairman of Gulf Group of Companies. [email protected]
Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website Digger.co.ke and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.