Charter flights raise demand for plane fuel

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (third right) welcomes some of the tourists who arrived at the Moi International Airport on board a Belgium direct charter flight, Tui Brusseles, walk to board buses for transfer to various beach hotels in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi Counties for their holidays, November 07, 2018. [PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].

A dramatic increase in the number of tourists flying to Mombasa contributed to a 12-fold increase in the consumption of aviation gasoline last year.

While consumption of jet fuel by commercial aircraft increased by 25 per cent, official data shows, intake of aviation gasoline (AVGAS) used to propel small aircraft went up to 18,830 tonnes.

This was a staggering 1,217 per cent increase from the 1,430 tonnes consumed in 2017. Kenya Burea of Statistics said 674,390 tonnes of jet fuel were consumed last year, a 25 per cent increased from 539,000 tonnes consumed in 2017.

Analysts attributed the massive increase in consumption of AVGAS to a rise in chartered flights into the country, particularly by tourists. “There has been an increase in small aircraft going to national parks,” said Patrick Obath, an energy expert.

He noted that increased activities by politicians who are fond of helicopters might also have played a part in pushing up the quantity of AVGAS consumed during the period under review.

The KNBS data showed that the number of tourist arrivals at Mombasa International Airport increased by 21 per cent from 100,329 in 2017 to 121,070 last year.

Over the period, the Government raked in nearly 18 times more in revenue through the Charter Incentive Programme (CIP) in which it has pumped Sh200 million since 2016.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala made the announcement last year, noting that Kenya had received a charter flight by Anglo-German travel and tourism company Tui from the Netherlands that brought in 120 visitors at Moi International Airport

The charter flight flew to Mombasa twice a week, translating to about 360 visitors to the Kenyan coast every week. “Moi International Airport is now receiving 15 charter flights per week, up from nine last year. Since 2016 to March this year, there have been 55,000 arrivals into Mombasa and the beach hotels,” said Balala.

AVGASMombasaKenya Burea of StatisticsGovernmentNajib Balala