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.
SEE ALSO :KQ eyes cargo on US routeFortunately, most KQ staff in high heels can still outrun the GSU. So how do I deal with KQ when I get fed up being mistreated?I fly another airline. Yet we have the latest Dream Liner jets. What does it take to turn around KQ? Some of the fixes are internal and easier. However, this is not the real challenge that KQ faces on its road to profitability. Airlines are a cyclical business. British Airways often goes to the verge of bankruptcy and like Lazarus, comes back from the dead. The same applies to the American Airlines. Profitability is not an end to itself. There are other issues to consider. Shiekh Ahmed, the Chairman of Emirates Airlines was asked; “is Emirates profitable?’’ He replied “does anyone care if the hotel shuttle bus is profitable as long as the hotel is making money? Dubai is making money’’. Emirates is a facilitator rather than an ends to itself. Last year, 89 million passengers passed through Dubai.
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. [email protected]
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