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(File photo)

Knutsford Express introduces business class service, adds international package delivery

(File photo)

OLIVER Townsend, CEO of Knutsford Express Services Limited (KEX), is indicating that new business lines added since the start of the new financial year are likely to continue to aid revenue recovery.

KEX, he told the Jamaica Observer, is leveraging the benefits of its “wide network” to keep growing the company’s customer base.

The company, since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic locally in March 2020, has pivoted to expand courier services. Earlier this year in May, although declining to share precise data, Townsend said package volumes climbed nearly 200 per cent since March 2021, contributing significantly to earnings. He added that courier services have been further expanded to “international courier services from all our branches islandwide to the USA, Canada and the rest of the world”.

Package volumes through Knutsford Express Courier Service has climbed nearly 200 per cent since March 2021. (File photo)

At the same time, he said, passenger travel has been rising slowly after falling to zero in May 2020, reaching just 20 per cent of normal levels in May 2021. Since then, the transport operator said, that passenger service has rebounded steadily from the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have also started a business class service, with two departures daily stopping at Sangster to Drax Hall Hub to New Kingston.”

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (centre) officially opens the Knutsford Express depot at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, while executive director of Knutsford Express, Anthony Copeland; Chairman Gordon Townsend; President of the Montego Bay Chamber of CommerceT’Shura Gibbs; and Knutsford Express Chief Executive Officer Oliver Townsend look on. (Photo: Claudia Gardner)

The business class service offers “guaranteed space for each person, light snacks, more personal attention, check-in, early boarding, and more”, Townsend told the Business Observer. The fare for the business class is 50 per cent higher than regular adult fares.

“Early feedback has been encouraging,” Townsend stated, adding that the company in 2020 received new medium-sized coaches which “are aptly equipped to launch the service”.

Townsend also outlined that a three-month delay in developing commercial space in phase two of its development at Drax Hall in St Ann is due to restrictions because of COVID-19. With ten subscribers already secured, opening is now expected in November. The previous plan was to open in July 2021.

Knutford Express has launched a business class service that offers “guaranteed space for each person, light snacks, more personal attention, check-in, early boarding, and more”. (File photo)

Knutsford Express Services Limited moved its headquarters from New Kingston to Drax Hall last year when Government restrictions and health protocols impacted passenger transport. So far, the company has spent an estimated $200 million on land acquisition and construction of the new commercial centre and the Knutsford Super Terminal.

Recently, the company opened a courier-only office at Palms Plaza in Portmore, St Catherine. It is not clear at the moment if it will open a transport hub in the municipality in the near future.

Knutsford Express Services, which offers courier, passenger and charter services, posted revenues of JM$991.39 million at year end May 31, 2021, down from JM$1.12 billion at year end May 2020. Net income for the year was JM$78.9 million, down from JM$224.77 million at year end in 2020.

In notes attached to its audited results, the company said Jamaica has not been spared the effects of the pandemic, with the group taking several measures to protect customers and employees in coaches and offices against COVID-19.