Africa’s Jambojet Suspends Operations Until May

As the Kenyan government implemented further travel bans on Monday evening, Jambojet, the low-cost subsidiary of Kenya Airways, has announced that it will halt all domestic operations. The suspension is planned to last until the end of the month. 

Tails of Jambojet
Kenya’s low-cost carrier Jambojet is suspending all operations effective today. Photo: Jambojet

Kenya’s new travel ban grounds domestic flights

On Monday, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the halt of all movement by road, rail or air in and out of the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. The travel ban also extended to the counties of Kilifi and Kwale on the country’s Indian Ocean coast. With the ban coming into effect at 19:00 that same evening, airlines were forced to cease domestic operations at very short notice. 

Jambojet, the low-cost subsidiary of national airline Kenya Airways, had already stopped flights to its two international destinations, Kigali, Rwanda and Entebbe, Uganda since the 19th of March. Just days after celebrating its sixth birthday, it has now suspended all traffic completely for the next three weeks, the airline announced this morning on Twitter.

Jambojet urged passengers who were scheduled to travel during the month of April to consider rescheduling their travel plans to a later date at no extra cost. The value of the tickets will remain valid for a 12-month period starting on the 7th of April. 

Kenya Airways
Jambojet’s parent airline Kenya Airways has also halted passenger flights. Photo: Getty Images

Supplies and cargo continue as normal

Kenya already has an international travel ban in place since midnight on the 25th of March. National airline Kenya Airways had also ceased all international flights but up until now, it was maintaining two domestic routes to Mombasa and Kisumu from Nairobi. Movement of food supplies and cargo will continue as normal to the areas affected by the travel ban. 

Regional airlines Safarlink and AirKenya Express, both based at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, have also temporarily suspended all operations. Kenya Airways has said it will continue to operate cargo flights to offer emergency services and supplies.

Jambojet normally serves five domestic destinations out of its base at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The airline operates a total of eight Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprop planes. It returned the two Boeing 737-300s it was leasing from parent company Kenya Airways in 2018.

Jambojet operates eight Dash 8-Q400 turboprop planes out of its base in Nairobi. Photo: Jambojet

Africa closing borders

At the time of writing, 43 of 54 countries on the African continent have closed their borders, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 30 have imposed lockdowns, curfews, travel bans or other restrictions to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Kenya has 158 confirmed cases to date, which may not seem much comparatively. However, when you consider that it is a country of 50 million people, but only 578 intensive care beds, the numbers take on a different meaning. 

Have you flown with Jambojet or another regional Kenyan airline? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!