Photograph — By Nevit Dilmen

Kenya Airways (KQ) has expanded its product offerings in its European network through a partnership with AccessRail, a train ticketing company. Under the agreement, the state carrier will provide its passengers with access to different destinations in Europe via rail connections.

The airline will be offering the service through train transfers from three of its five European gateways – Amsterdam, London, Paris, Geneva, and Rome. On its recently launched Rome-Italy flight, KQ will connect passengers from Rome Fiumicino Airport to over 27 train stations across Italy.

Meanwhile, AccessRail will provide connectivity in the United Kingdom (UK) to 48 train stations from London Heathrow Airport and to the Netherlands and Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp) from Schiphol Airport.

The new direct booking service, which can be done through the KQ Global Distribution system, is specifically targeted at customers travelling across cities and towns that might not have airports but have train stations linking them. It also enhances the ease of booking travel.

“Customers will now have the ability to buy an air ticket and connect to a train service in the UK and the Schengen Area,” said Ursula Silling, the chief commercial officer of KQ. The new service, according to her, allows passengers to “access more European destinations that might not have airports within but have train stations.”

Several big airports such as London-Heathrow and Amsterdam-Schiphol have regular train connections from the airport. This is as a result of the huge demand for combined air and train travel service.

AccessRail is a major provider of train tickets with an air travel booking system for travelers in Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.

Across the five European cities it flies to, KQ services both business and leisure travellers. Silling noted that the carrier draws a significant number of its passenger traffic from Europe, even as the continent has always been a major source market for tourists coming to Africa.

Considering this, the new partnership with AccessRail will help Kenya Airways increase its already huge number of passengers on the European route. This will, in turn, boost revenue and comes with the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of the loss-making and struggling state-run carrier.

According to Andrew Popescu, the Vice President for Business Development at AccesRail, the ticketing company is “determined” to help Kenya Airways gain network expansion opportunities at “no real cost.”

The Canadian-based firm also hopes to help KQ gain network consolidation opportunities with minimum passenger loss, give better service to existing customers, offer better load factors at a lower cost and assist the airline to maintain a strong competitive position in Europe.

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