Fly-SAX set to resume Lokichoggio flights
Workers and businessmen can now fly directly from Lokichoggio in Turkana to Nairobi after East African Safari Air Express relaunched operations on the route, easing the burden of travelling 215km to catch flights in Lodwar.
The airline, which has rebranded back to East African from Fly-SAX, said scheduled flights from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to the northwest Kenya town, which lies about 30 kilometres from South Sudan, will start next Friday.
The airline is making a comeback to Lokichoggio Airport after grounding the flights in 2014 to allow rehabilitation of the runway by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), the operator of public airports and airstrips.
While the airline previously relied on humanitarian operations by the UN agencies and other organisations in the expansive Kakuma Refugee Camp and war-torn South Sudan, this time around it is targeting workers and businessmen with weekend flights.
“All those people who belong to the county and other organisations there (Lokichoggio) are struggling to travel to meet family members in Nairobi.
“When we used to fly there before, there was a lot of support from Kakuma because of NGOs and the link with the UN operations in South Sudan.”
East African will initially fly to Lokichoggio on Fridays and Sundays, Mr Kivindyo said after an inaugural flight on Wednesday.
Plans to scale up frequencies are pegged on demand and connecting flights to other routes such as Eldoret and Kitale.
“We are going to fly there daily if the mathematics are right and support (bookings) is there and returns are good. My team is also assessing traffic between Lokichoggio and other towns like Eldoret,” he said.
The carrier, he added, has ordered two 19-seater aircraft to add to its fleet of eight with sights on Garissa, Marsabit and Moyale.
“We have to take a calculated risk. You need a small aircraft to start a route and all I need is to have half of that occupied,” Mr Kivindyo said. “We want to cover the whole of Kenya.”