By Yvonne Chebin, Kisumu
Kisumu governor Nyong’o has instructed county staff not to use Safarilink airline over claims the airline is overcharging its customers.
“I am issuing this statement to protest the excessively high flight charges by some domestic airlines,” said Nyong’o.
Nyong’o said that on February 3, this year, his staff booked a flight for him to fly to Kisumu from Wilson Airport in Nairobi on Safarilink Airline’s 7am flight No.081, Ticket Reference No 49141F.
“On the previous evening, I called my secretary to confirm the flight. She told me all was well except that Safarilink was asking for Sh19,000 for one-way flight from Nairobi to Kisumu. The usual charges have been between Sh5,500 and Sh7,000,” said Nyong’o
The Governor in the statement says he protested against the price.
“I called one of the managers and protested. But since I had to travel for an urgent meeting in Kisumu, we paid the Sh19,000,” said Nyong’o.
The Governor has since raised queries following his experience that day.
“Question: Why is Safarilink engaged in this rip-off of its passengers in a bid to collect obscene profits from gullible public? Do we have a consumer protection organization to act against this kind of rip- off?” posed Nyong’o
He added : “In view of this, I have instructed the staff of the County Government of Kisumu not to use Safarilink for any trip, from today, February 9,”
A few hours later, Safarilink issued a response, which begun with thanking Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o for his candid feedback.
“We are aware that you are frequent traveler on Safarilink as your flights are always booked through various agents or by the Kisumu County Office. We trust that your agents advise you of standard practice of airline fares, which are based on several factors such as demand, peak travel days and time of booking.
“Our fares to Kisumu are in the price range from Sh5,500 to Sh19,000, so the earlier one books the cheaper the fare. In this instance, you booked this flight directly from our website the evening before the flight and hence the fare was based on the last seat available,” said the airline.
The airline was flabbergasted by the governor’s sentiments.
On the same day, other airlines who are beneficiaries of Government support, had higher fares, so it is surprising that it is only Safarilink that has been cited with what you term as ‘ripping off gullible passengers’,” said the airline.
The airline went ahead to defend its services to its clients, the governor and Kisumu county at large
“We appreciate you and the Kisumu County government’s loyalty to Safarilink over the years. We, in turn, have supported the Kisumu County in various ways with sponsorships towards various projects and you personally when we have held back flights when you were running late. It is unfortunate that such concessions are not recognized.” Said the airline.