KENYA – National carrier Kenya Airways, has implemented contactless transactions to enhance customer and staff health and safety priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This service will be effective from 1st September 2021.

The contactless transactions align with the airline’s strategy to develop sustainable business operations through investing in innovative processes and technologies for customer safety and security throughout the customer journey.

Customers will be encouraged to use mobile money, credit, or debit cards to make any transactions at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), including purchasing tickets and paying for checked-in baggage.

 “The aviation industry is increasingly adopting touchless technologies to keep passengers safe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the ability to transition to a contactless environment. For Kenya Airways, we aim to keep innovating and digitizing our processes to serve our customers faster and more efficiently to minimize future disruptions,” said Julius Thairu, Ag, chief Commercial and Customer Experience Officer.

“Alternative payment transactions are becoming increasingly popular across several touchpoints within the airline industry. This process will reduce the complexity of work for our agents, who will no longer have to worry about handling cash, finding exact change, or closing out a cash drawer at the end of the day. This is positive news for our customers and our team members at the airport,” he added.

This comes as the carrier and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer signed an agreement in August 2021 to launch flying taxis in Nairobi.

The taxis are expected to cut travel time from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the city center to six minutes.

The Brazilian company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kenya Airways, through the national carrier’s newly established subsidiary Fahari Aviation, to establish Electric Vertical Aircraft (EVA) starting 2025.

Fahari is Kenya Airways’ wing that deals with drones and has already opened an unmanned aerial vehicles school to train interested Kenyans.

EVAs carry a load of 250 kilograms at 400 Kilometers per hour with a range of 250 Kilometers.

The aircraft is completely autonomous as it does not require any human pilot intervention as it flies under the control of automatic systems such as radar, lidar and 12 camera sensors but according to the company, EVA will begin as a manned aircraft (with one pilot).

 “The aviation industry is increasingly adopting touchless technologies to keep passengers safe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the ability to transition to a contactless environment”

Julius Thairu – Ag Commercial and Customer Experince Officer, Kenya Airways

EVA is ideally suited as an urban air mobility aircraft bringing all traditional aviation travelers closer to their final destination efficiently and comfortably.

The new partnership is also anchored on the need to introduce zero-emission electric planes in the transport sector in Kenya.

Andre Stein, CEO of Embraer’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Solutions unit, said the introduction of flying taxis would provide an alternative mode of transportation for passengers pressed for time.

This collaboration, he said, aims at developing operational models for the wide accessibility of Urban Air Mobility to support Fahari Aviation’s key markets.

In addition, the partnership will establish” a foundation of concepts and procedures to safely scale EVA throughout the country in the coming years”.

EVA will support Fahari Aviation, the Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) division of Kenya Airways that promotes safe and secure UAS usage in the region, in establishing its UAM network and collaborate on the required Urban Air Traffic Management (UATM) procedures and UAM operating environment.

This partnership will also allow Fahari Aviation to support Eva’s aircraft and product development process which will help guide the integration of UAM with Kenya Airways’ overall operations.

“We are thrilled to partner with Kenya Airways to provide new forms of air mobility throughout the region for both people and goods. The creation of disruptive and widely accessible Urban Air Mobility solutions will help democratize mobility by making it more accessible, affordable and giving communities more options,” said Mr. Stein.

He said the partnership will foster long-term mobility strategies throughout the country and region.

“With our aircraft and aerospace services backing and Kenya Airways’ innovative approach to air mobility, we are enthusiastic about opening this region to more sustainable and community-friendly air access for all,” he said.

Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways chief executive officer said Fahari Aviation is at the forefront of exploring advanced technologies, with a key focus in aviation, starting with drones.

“With this partnership, we look to develop innovative air mobility solutions for our clients in Kenya and throughout the region,” said Mr. Kilavuka.

The partnership will deliver a robust strategy to provide Fahari Aviation’s passengers with a sustainable, accessible, and affordable transportation option.

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals and insights from Africa’s business, economy and more. SUBSCRIBE HERE