Virgin Atlantic says that “increasing costs and a challenging economic environment in both Kenya and Europe” have led to its decision to withdraw from the London-Nairobi route in September.
Business Traveller was alerted to the news via our forum, and the carrier has now confirmed that flights will cease on September 23, leaving just British Airways and Kenya Airways on the London Heathrow-Nairobi route.
Virgin launched the route five years ago, but in a statement today its chief commercial officer Julie Southern said:
“We have taken the difficult decision to withdraw our services between London and Nairobi. Despite the best efforts of our employees, external factors including the high price of fuel, increasing aviation taxes in the UK and insufficient passenger numbers throughout the past five years have contributed to the decision.”
“These are still challenging times for the airline industry and we have to deploy our aircraft to routes with the right level of demand to be financially viable.”
The carrier said that in the five years since the launch of the route, its fuel costs had risen by over 50 per cent, and APD charges by over 100 per cent.
Virgin also flies from London to the African cities of Lagos, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Accra, the last of which commenced in 2010 (click here for more details).
For more information visit virginatlantic.com.
Report by Mark Caswell