Recent socio-economic growth in Turkana County has led to increased demand for air transport.
The demand for more flights has been attributed to opportunities brought by devolution, oil exploration and the large number of non-governmental organizations operating there, as well as presence of civil servants and other employees who hail from other counties.
The poor state of the Kitale-Lodwar road, which is currently under construction has also forced many to switch to air transport.
It takes 40 minutes to fly from Lodwar to Eldoret and six to eight hours by road from Lodwar to Kitale.
Currently, there are five flights which fly to Lodwar from Nairobi, namely Fly 540, Sax air, Skyward express, Silverstone and latest entrant, Tristar air.
Except Silverstone air which flies directly to Lodwar from Wilson airport every morning, the other flights pass through Eldoret.
A one way trip from Wilson airport to Lodwar costs Sh. 8,000. The other flights charge Sh. 8,500 and pass through Eldoret international airport.
The latest entry to the market, Tristar Air, charges Sh. 6,333 to Wilson airport, Nairobi and Sh. 4,333 to Eldoret from Lodwar.
When it was introduced on May 25, 2018, many passengers saw this as a marketing gimmick.
Other flights had entered the market, charging lower than their competitors, only to hike the prices once they got more customers.
Currently, Fly 540 used to charge Sh. 5,000 from Lodwar to Eldoret but the price has risen to Sh. 6,000, Lodwar Fly Tristar agent, Denis Kyalo said this price would not be increased.
I want to assure our customers that our prices will not rise, Kyalo clarified.
Asked how they were able to operate with such low air fares, Kyalo says it’s because the company has its own planes and does not hire like other carriers.
Tristar air also flies to other parts of the country, including Malindi, Mombasa, Mandera, Kisumu, Kakaba, Nairobi, Eldoret and Lodwar, and is always fully packed. It has a capacity of 50 passengers and flies to Lodwar daily except Tuesday and Saturdays.
We are considering launching the flights of those remaining days of the week that is Tuesdays and Saturdays in the near future.
Source: Kenya News Agency