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Flying KQ vs Flying Private: An Analysis of the Cheaper Option

KQ Ruto

President William Ruto recently responded to claims that his 4-day trip to the United States cost an excess of Ksh 200 million.


He took to X and this is what he said in his defence: “Fellow Kenyans, I have noted concerns on my mode of transport to the US. As a responsible steward of public resources and in keeping with my determination for us to live within our means and that I should lead from the front in so doing, the cost was less than travelling on KQ.”

Yet as investigated by a KTN reporter, flying via KQ would be significantly cheaper. A business class seat ticket from Nairobi to New York was found to cost Ksh 847, 000. There were 34 seats in the private jet the President hired. Suppose we round off the figure to Ksh 1 million per seat, 34 seats would have cost Ksh 34 million. Two trips would have cost the country Ksh 68 million.

On the other hand, a single trip in the private jet costs $748, 600. That is equivalent to Ksh 99.3 million. A round trip would therefore cost Ksh 198 million. The amount is said to exclude take-off tax, landing tax and parking. It is reported that the President stayed with the jet for his entire visit. That brings the total cost of hiring the jet to more than Ksh 300 million.

President Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua shaking hands. Credit: Nairobi Leo

What can Ksh 300 million buy you in Kenya today? A Bugatti Veyron. That goes to show just how much that money is, considering that a Bugatti is a very high-end car. The kind we hear celebrities in first-world countries have.  

A Bugatti Veyron in a showroom. Credit: The Drive

In the Dishi na County programme, Ksh 500 million was allocated to building 7 new kitchens. Therefore, Ksh 300 million could fund about four new kitchens for the feeding program.

When asked how much he used for the entire trip, the President deflected the question.

“There are people who will answer those questions but I can tell you from where I sit that the numbers being bandied around are ridiculous,” he said.

With no accurate figures that we can pinpoint, Kenyans are left to speculate and question if the President’s remarks are true or simply part of his public relations strategy.

Read Also: Cheaper than KQ: President Ruto Defends Ksh 200 Million Private Jet


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