East Africa and Indian Ocean Aviation
Airline news from Africa
Emirates counters Qatar with added A280 destinations
Emirates sales teams have swiftly reacted across East Africa to the news that arch rival, Qatar Airways, will launch their new B787 on the route to London from mid-December, when the airline announced additional A380 destinations.
“The Airbus A380 provides the greatest comfort available in the sky today. Emirates has invested a lot in developing this product, and in particular business and first class passengers cannot find a better in-flight environment than on this type of aircraft. All else pales against that experience,” said a regular source close to the Emirates’ office in Kampala as the news on the new A380 destinations was revealed.
Moscow and Singapore both will see the giant aircraft making daily appearances from now on, as Emirates’ A380 fleet now stands at 27, with a further 4 due for delivery near the end of the year.
“When the additional A380s are available, there will be a lot of changes. From next week, all 5 daily London Heathrow flights will be operated with this aircraft. New York and Paris from January will get a second daily A380 connection. And when more of these aircraft come online, Emirates will fly to more places with this aircraft, offering the best comfort. And do not forget, all our East Africa destinations like Entebbe, Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam are served by wide-body aircraft which is also more comfortable and more spacious than a smaller single aisle plane,” added the same source in obviously clear reference to an earlier report filed here that Qatar Airways was the Middle East’s launch customer for the B787 Dreamliner, prompting a swift and sharp reaction in the market to the benefit of travelers who got wider choices.
Turkish Airlines makes maiden flight to Mombasa in Kenya
Turkish Airlines (THY) commenced scheduled flights into Mombasa, serving Kenya’s coastal city now 5 times a week. Passengers connecting from Turkish’s global network via Istanbul will now have the option to fly to THY’s second Kenyan destination, after Nairobi, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, leaving IST (Istanbul Ataturk Airport) at 1810 hours before reaching MBA (Mombasa Airport), via JRO (Kilimanjaro International Airport), at 0355 hours the next morning.
The coast tourism fraternity enthusiastically welcomed the new flight, which was the first bit of aviation good news since both Qatar and Brussels Airlines had announced they would not after all start their planned flights to Mombasa while other charter airlines withdrew from the route due to insufficient demand.
Tour operators from across Europe offering safaris to Tanzania and beach holidays to Kenya have equally expressed their support for the new flight, one of the few international scheduled services connecting major airlines to Mombasa, Star Alliance partners Ethiopian being the other one.
Local tourism representatives were united in endorsing the sentiments of a regular contributor who said: “This is very good news ahead of the festive season. Turkish now connects Mombasa 5 times a week with all their destinations. I read you wrote they now have the largest global reach which means they can bring tourists from North America and Europe but also from Asia. Our emerging markets in Asia and Eastern Europe are doing well, and it is now up to us here in Kenya to promote ourselves. Turkish has offered concessionary travel so we can work with them to put missions together to market Kenya. We are happy that such a big airline shares our own confidence in Kenya to start up with 5 flights a week.”
Across the border in Tanzania, safari operators, too, were enthusiastic when the inaugural flight touched down at Kilimanjaro International Airport outside Arusha. The efforts by Turkish to promote the destination has, according to information received from Arusha already, resulted in new business for the northern safari circuit, which includes such global brand names like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire national parks.
Turkish Airlines has also launched itself in the Maldives bringing added advantages to this island nation so dependent on tourism. The arrival of Turkish Airlines in the Maldives is seen as a major breakthrough for Maldives and its tourism industry, and this has given them an unprecedented edge over the other competing tourism island destinations of the Indian Ocean.