More flights for Africa


(eTN) – A source in Juba has confirmed that Fly540 will launch a second daily flight between Nairobi and Juba between Monday and Thursday while Friday to Sunday will continue to see the regular daily departure. Nairobi has become the destination of choice for many South Sudanese to connect to international flights while business travel between the two capital cities has increased substantially since the country attained independence in July. Fly540 is using a Bombardier CRJ aircraft on the route.

Meanwhile, the airline’s market position in neighboring Uganda has become precarious as low passenger numbers continue to haunt Fly540 following the controversial departure of former country manager Jackie Arkle, with the matter heading for court it is understood. “Mama 540,” as Jackie was known, has since returned to her native Kenya and is now pursuing her own business interests.

Fly540 may still come to rue their action as their passenger loads reportedly suffered as a result of the negative publicity. An emergency sales blitz was, in fact, undertaken very recently by Fly540 staff, but agents polled expressed a broadly negative view to this correspondent, mainly based on the fact of frequent changes in equipment while others cited “the Jackie Arkle case” as a reason for not booking business with the airline.

Two days ago, Ethiopian Airlines launched nonstop flights from Bahir Dar and Mekele to Khartoum, providing passengers with a faster connection without having to travel first via Addis Ababa.

The airline is using their Bombardier Q400 turboprop for the service which is now going to operate four times a week. It appears these flights are a first to a neighboring country not originating in Addis Ababa and travelers will undoubtedly appreciate the time saved by going nonstop.

Ethiopian has in the past been operating regular jet aircraft services to Khartoum, and the new flights are seen as a further expansion of air links between the two countries.

Ethiopian Airlines is THE original Pan African airline and remains a contender as the continent’s leading airline, in terms of destinations served across Africa and to the rest of the world and in terms of aircraft and an has applicant status with the globally leading Star Alliance, due to join in coming months.