Virgin Atlantic, a UK-based airline company, is to end all of its services between London and Kenya from September this year.
The London to Kenya service, which has been in operation for the last five years, is being axed due to rising fuel costs and falling passenger numbers, according to Virgin Atlantic’s president, Sir Richard Branson. However, it has been confirmed that customers who have already booked flights with the airline after the September 23 deadline outbound, and the final return from Nairobi the following day, will be given a full refund or moved to an alternative carrier.
Alternative airline options for passengers to Nairobi include British Airways, KLM, Emirates and Air France.
Commenting on his company’s decision to axe the Kenya flights, Sir Richard Branson said that he was saddened by the decision and added, ‘A combination of record fuel prices, higher and higher taxes imposed by the Government and a poorly timed slot not providing connections from London, have made it uneconomical to fly from Nairobi. Governments must be more realistic about the aviation taxes they impose and we urgently need to increase capacity at Heathrow.’
In addition to fuel costs, which have increased by 50 percent in the last five years, and an increase in Air Passenger Duty of 100 percent, civil unrest in the country and high-profile kidnapping cases have further hit Kenya’s tourism, with a subsequent reduction in air traffic.
Virgin Atlantic will be replacing the axed flights with new flights to Mumbai in India and an additional flight to New York from the autumn.