Lonrho-owned Fly540 grows by 25% in 2009; still focussed on Kenya and Tanzania; now operating first CRJ

September 20: Fly540 has introduced seven direct weekly flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Wendy Masbay (right) an in flight attendant with Fly540, serves snacks to Cyrus Kariuki (left), of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and Pamela Ochanda (centre) of Akarim Agencies, during the inaugural flight between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Dar es Salaam.

Promoting itself as “Africa’s Low Cost Airline”, Nairobi-based Fly540 began operations in 2006 and now operates a varied fleet of regional aircraft (including three ATR 42s and three DHC-8-100s, Source: Flight International) primarily on routes to, from and within Kenya. The airline recently acquired its first CRJ which is operating on routes to Bujumbura, Entebbe and Mwanza.

According to the latest annual report from the airline’s owners Lonrho, Fly540 saw passenger numbers rise by 26% in 2009 from 171,160 to 215,735. The company also has a major share in planned subsidiaries Fly540 Angola, Fly540 Ghana and Fly540 Zimbabwe. None of these subsidiaries appears to have started commercial operations as yet.

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 September 2010

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 September 2010

According to OAG schedule data the airline currently operates 23 routes involving 23 airports of which 14 are in Kenya, seven are in neighbouring Tanzania, plus Entebbe in Uganda and Bujumbura in Burundi. The airline’s busiest route is between Nairobi and Mombasa which it serves up to four times daily.


Fly540, has also recently switched its Nairobi to Mara, Amboseli, Samburu and Nanyuki flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to a purpose-built facility in Langata House at the much smaller Wilson Airport. Nixon Ooko, the Fly540 Operations Director, said, “The move will reduce the time needed for passengers to drive to and from the airport and streamline the check-in and departure processes.” Captain Mengesha Tefera (left), Alex Omolo (right), Stellah Kapsoot (second left) and Elizabeth Wangare (second right) of Fly540, board the airline’s inaugural flight to Maasai Mara from Wilson Airport.

More flights but fewer seats than Kenya Airways in domestic market

In the Kenyan domestic market Kenya Airways has a 40% share of seat capacity but only 19% of flights, as it operates mostly larger jet aircraft. Fly540 is second in terms of seat capacity with 24% but operates twice as many domestic flights as the national carriers. Air Kenya Express and Jetlink Express both have a 13% share of domestic capacity, with other carriers accounting for the remaining 10%.


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