Charter plane licences set to boost tourist arrivals


Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has licensed three international charter plane services to operate in the country in a move expected to increase the number of tourists coming into the country.

Two charter airlines from the UK, Monarch and Thompson Fly, were granted licences for two years with effect from May 2008. Both will offer weekly flights linking Gatwick and Manchester in the UK with Mombasaw while Blue Panorama of Italy received a one year licence from July 2008.

The airline will fly between Italy and Mombasa once a week as well as Italy, Mombasa and Zanzibar twice a week. The three carriers are among the 15 charter airlines that stopped flights to the country following the post- election violence.

Data from the sector shows that the two UK airlines provided seat capacity of 6,696 between January and March 2007, this dropped to only 933 during the same period in 2008.

The withdrawal of charter flights to Kenya has seen the tourism sector record a drop in earnings by 32 per cent to Sh23 billion.

Other airlines that have been licensed according to the Kenya Gazette are Cargolux airlines that will fly cargo between Luxembourg, Nairobi and other African destinations like Lagos and Johannesburg.

Air France cargo was granted a two year licence to move cargo between Paris, Nairobi and other destinations in Africa. Jetlink Express was granted a three year licence to fly cargo from Nairobi and Mombasa to the rest of the world.

Airborne African Antics received a three year licence to fly tourists within Amboseli National Park on hot air balloons while Skyship Company will do the same in Masai Mara.

The licences were granted by the chief air transport officer, Mercy Awori, last week.