UGANDA (eTN) – The Kampala, Uganda, office of Turkish Airlines (THY) has confirmed that the airline has launched nonstop flights from Istanbul to Washington, DC, with convenient connections for travelers from Uganda and also from other East African destinations like Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. While presently only 4 frequencies per week are operated, this will be rising to daily flights once more when the expected B777 aircraft are delivered to Turkish.
At the same time, the source also informed that the airline will serve New York during the next summer schedule with double daily flights, while they will increase flights to Los Angeles and Chicago to daily departures. Several other US destinations are in the final stages of planning, and details will be released in due course.
Some of the more established airlines, in particular those not yet flying daily to Entebbe (after being asked by travel agents, travelers, and government for years to introduce more flights), have in the meantime and “off the record” expressed their concerns over the fares THY was offering across the East African markets, claiming such levels could not be viable in the longer term. Several of the “complainants” also indicated they would match the fares in order to protect their own market share. Information received from THY, however, tells a different story, as the airline claims to have a substantially lower-cost base in Turkey compared to other more established airlines and that this cost advantage is being passed on to their customers.
Tourism stakeholders meanwhile expressed their satisfaction that the “new airlines” coming to Entebbe were offering attractive fares for visitors flying to Uganda. One regular source said: “If they offer good service and affordable fares, they can find new traffic for Uganda – people who would not otherwise have considered visiting us here because of the high cost of air fares by established airlines. Therefore, we are happy to see such new airlines bringing more tourists from their own sales and marketing efforts. We believe there can be a growing market out there for us in Uganda, and if Kenya can establish a new arrival record this year, so should we. All we have to do is stop this eternal bickering and politicking, have government give our tourist board enough funds, and we can work hand in hand with such partners to promote the ‘Pearl of Africa’ as good as we can.”