Kenya’s low-cost airline, Jambojet Airlines has partnered with the country’s popular telecommunications giant, Safaricom to allow passengers to use Bonga Points to book flights. Safaricom’s loyalty points will be processed similar to cash payments. Jambojet’s communications officer revealed on Thursday. Jambojet Airlines is a 100% fully owned subsidiary of Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways.
The partnership will allow Safaricom customers to use 33,000 Bonga points to book a one way flight between Nairobi and Kisumu on Fridays. These same customers can use 67,500 Bonga points for a return flight from Kisumu to Kenya’s capital city.
Titus Oboogi, who is the head of sales and marketing at Jambojet said the partnership was part of the company’s strategic initiative to help Kenyans manage the tough economic times brought about by the sourge of Covid-19 in the country.
“We are aware of the financial impact Covid-19 has had on many families. There are those who may want to travel but are cash–strapped. We want to provide options to the customers and tell them that they can still travel by redeeming Bonga points,” said Mr Oboogi.
Jambojet Airlines flies to eight destination all within the Eastern Africa region. These includes flights from the company’s hub in Nairobi to:
Destinations in which Jambojet Airlines operates (as of August 27, 2020).
Customers can use Bonga points to book flights to any of the above destinations.
How To Use Bonga Points To Book Flights At Jambojet
To book a Jambojet flight using your Bonga points, customers are encouraged to dial *126# then select Lipa Na Bonga Points, then select Paybill. Customers then will be prompted to enter the Jambojet Paybill Number 737700. After this, the mobile will print or show the transaction’s Reference Number. This reference number is also called the Account Number.
After customers have been prompted to enter their Account (reference) number, they will be prompted to enter the amount of money they would like to pay via Bonga Points. After entering the amount, their cellphone will show the available Bonga Points that can be used to book the flight.
Jambojet Airlines’ partnership shows the extent to which airlines are willing to go to stimulate travel during this coronavirus pandemic season. Last month, Jambojet’s competitor Safarilink was forced to ground planes due to the effects of coronavirus. The lockdown that was in effect at the time greatly affected the demand for air transport, especially among tourists who travel for leisure.
Also, last month, the largest long-haul carrier, Emirates implemented a free Coronavirus Passenger Insurance to anyone who would like to travel with the Emirates Airlines. The insurance covered all medical expenses incurred by a passenger who flies with them should they contract the deadly covid-19 viral disease. Should these passengers pass on, Emirates’ Covid-19 insurance also covers all costs incurred to transport the deceased’s body including funeral costs.
Emirates’ free Global Covid-19 Insurance was offered to passengers in an effort to alleviate fears of contracting the disease among air travel passengers. The Dubai-based long-haul carrier uses the giant double-decker Airbus A380-800 planes that can carry up to 865 passengers at a go. During this Covid-19 season, Emirates has struggled to fill these giants of the sky planes with passengers and was literary forced to ground the mammoth machines due to a lack of passenger demand.
Instead, Emirates now uses the much smaller twin-engine Boeing 777-300 planes as they are much easier to fill during this pandemic-plagued low-season times.
The deal between Safaricom and Jambojet comes a day after Tanzania banned three more Kenyan airlines from flying in their airspace. The airlines affected includes: Safarilink, Fly540 and Air Kenya Express. Kenya and Tanzania’s dispute stemmed from the former’s subjection of Tanzanian passengers with a 14-day Covid-19 mandatory quarantine.
Just over three weeks ago, Tanzania banned Kenya Airways from flying into Tanzanian airspace in protest for Kenya’s removal of Tanzania from a list of at least 100 destinations that the Kenyan national carrier considered “safe destinations”. The implication of this declaration means any passenger(s) from a destination that was not on the list was subject to a mandatory 14 day coronavirus quarantine upon landing.
Kenya also accuses Tanzania of poorly handling covid-19 in their country, something that Magufuli’s government vehemently denies. The two East African nations engaged in commercial blockades in May when Tanzania closed its borders for truckers originating from Kenya. Back then, the Dodoma government accused Nairobi of harboring the largest coronavirus infections in the entire Eastern Africa region.
Being a newcomer in Kenya’s aviation market, Jambojet does not currently fly to Tanzania as that market is already saturated with competitors. Jambojet commenced operations in 2014 while its rivals have been around quite sometime. For example Air Kenya Express started operations in 1987, Safarilink in 2004 and Fly540 in 2006.
For the eight destinations Jambojet services, the company uses a fleet of 9 planes. 8 Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400 and a single Boeing 737-300 aircraft. There are plans to acquire more planes when the economy thaws from the effects of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.