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Second KQ plane carrying Kenyans stranded in UK lands at JKIA

A second flight carrying Kenyans who were stranded in the UK due to the Covid-19 lockdowns landed safely at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Saturday morning.

The Kenya Airways chartered flight departed from London’s Heathrow Airport on Friday afternoon, according to Kenya’s High Commissioner to UK Manoah Esipisu.

Kenya High Commission in London, in a statement early this week, announced that the evacuation flight from London was available on a first-come-first-served basis.

A one-way economy class ticket on this flight was going for Sh101,000 (£771) and Sh279,000 (£2,140) for business class, prices almost double the amount paid by the first group that was evacuated from the UK on May 4.

According to KQ, the huge difference in the ticket price was because the first flight was ferrying cargo to and from the United Kingdom, hence balancing out the cost.

“There is a difference in price and this is because the flight on May 4 was ferrying cargo to and from the United Kingdom. It was, therefore, possible to balance out the operating costs between cargo and passenger services,” KQ said.

The national carrier on May 4 flew in 84 Kenyans who had been stranded in Britain for a Sh53,495 (£430) from London to Nairobi.

This makes it the most costly chartered services of all the evacuation missions KQ has offered to Kenyans scrambling to return in the wake of coronavirus, which has seen most airlines ground planes as governments imposed travel restrictions.

KQ has been surviving on cargo and chartered services following the grounding of passenger services after the State suspended all cross-border passenger flights on March 22.

The chartered flights arriving at JKIA are, however, been set aside only for Kenyans who have tested negative for Covid-19.

Upon arrival in Nairobi, the returnees are expected to be placed under mandatory quarantine in designated facilities for a period of between 14 and 28 days.

Kenyans from India and China were evacuated last week at their own cost with those traveling from Mumbai paying Sh46,000 ($430) for a one-way ticket and Sh80,242 ($750) for citizens who arrived from Guangzhou.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry headed by Macharia Kamau this week said it had facilitated the evacuation of at least 700 Kenyans stranded in foreign countries.