In an incredulous move, it is being reported that the government of Burundi has blocked an Kenyan low cost carrier from flying to their country because their aircrafts are not equipped with a business class.
Jambojet is the low-cost subsidiary of Kenya Airways – the flag carrier of Kenya. The airline operates regional flights with a fleet of five Bombardier Q400’s and a Boeing 737-300 which is due to be returned to it’s parent airline. All the airline’s fleet is all-economy like most low cost carriers.
The airline was to begin flights from Nairobi, Kenya to Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi last Wednesday.
Jambojet had originally applied for and received permission to operate the flight. This permission was revoked just before the maiden flight because the Q400 which is the only aircraft type now operating in the airline’s fleet is “unbefitting of the status of government officials travelling to Nairobi for connecting flights to other parts of the world.” or in other words permission wouldn’t be given to an aircraft without a business class.
In a letter to the airline’s CEO, Burundi’s minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Land Use stated:
“I would like to kindly inform you, as I informed your partner Kenya Airways before, that our high State officials travel to the world mainly via Nairobi and need to be treated in business class conditions that are acceptable considering their rank,”
It’s worth nothing that the flight from Nairobi is only 500 miles and that Bujumbura which is the only paved airport in the country only gets flights from four airlines. I would have expected Burundi to welcome any additional flights to it’s country, instead they are dictating terms to another country’s airline.
In response to this incident, Kenya airways has blocked bookings from Nairobi Bujumbura which it operates via Kigali, Rwanda.