Kenya Airways (KQ) will now fly Kenyans stranded in Mumbai, London, and Guangzhou amid the Coronavirus epidemic that has grounded airlines globally.
The airline plans to carry passengers on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that have a capacity of 335 passengers.
KQ on Monday told the media that the London flight was scheduled for departure on 4 May 2020, while the Mumbai and Guangzhou flights would depart on 7 May and 8 May 2020, respectively.
“London flight is scheduled for 4 May while Mumbai and Guangzhou flights will leave on 7 May and 8 May respectively.”
The airline noted that passengers flying from London would pay $500 (Ksh53,495), while those in Guangzhou would pay $750 (Ksh80,242) and those in Mumbai to pay $430 (Ksh46,005) for a one-way ticket.
Nonetheless, the carrier did not reveal the time when the flight would depart London, Guangzhou, and Mumbai, saying that it is a security issue.
“In terms of the departure and arrival time, we cannot share this for security reasons,” the airline said.
The move to evacuate Kenyans stranded in different foreign countries comes barely days after the airliner charged refugees in Kenya up to triple the normal ticket price to enable them to go back to their countries of origin on a chartered flight.
Kenya Airways charged $1,876 (Ksh187,692) for a one-way ticket inclusive of the cost of the Coronavirus test done at Lancet laboratory, Nairobi.
Usually, an air ticket from Nairobi to London and back, especially at this time of the year, would cost about $964 (Ksh96,430) or around $482 (Ksh48,215) for a one-way ticket.
KQ Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka, in an exclusive interview, told the press that the fares were within a realistic range since the airline had costs to meet.
“This is a charter flight. The cost is spread out under normal operations. Now it is concentrated on a few flights, and there is also the extra cost of cleaning, protection, and fumigation,” Mr. Kilavuka said.