Wednesday, July 3, 2013

■ KENYA: Tourism sector implores government to allow more scheduled operators into Mombasa.

KenyaKenyan Tourism Cabinet secretary, Ms Phyllis Kandie, has implored the Kenyan government to allow more scheduled international carriers to serve the coastal city of Mombasa with regular, year-round flights to help boost waning tourist numbers.

Mombasa Moi International Airport
Mombasa Moi International Airport (A Buliva)
Speaking in Mombasa at the annual Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) symposium, Ms Kandie said the advent of dedicated year round services would give stability to the tourism trade which currently suffers during the low season. As a consequence, she said, some hotels are forced to shut during the April-June period (low season) when chartered airlines withdraw their services.

Currently, Mombasa's scheduled operators include Kenya Airways (KQ), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Rwandair (WB), Turkish Airlines (TK), Air Uganda (U7) andFly540 (5H) while its charter operators include Edelweiss (WK) and Condor (DE).
We need more airlines from Europe and other continents to operate scheduled flights to Mombasa so that we can boost tourist arrivals. Reliance on charters is to blame for the tourist drought at the Coast from April to June. Scheduled flights could sort out the low season challenges,” she added.
Ms Kandie said she would soon hold talks with her Transport and Infrastructure counterpart, Mr Michael Kamau, in an effort to address the matter.

During the symposium, a Condor Airlines representative, Ms Ilona Germes, said her airline was interested in operating scheduled flights from Austria to Mombasa from November 5, but that Nairobi had been unwilling to allow it.

This closely resembles Qatar Airways (QR) and its plans to launch a Doha - Dar es Salaam - Mombasa route last year that was dropped at the last moment.

Speaking at IATA's recent AGM held in Cape Town, South Africa, Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, blamed the lack of rights to Africa on state carriers distorting figures in order to limit the expansion of his and other Middle East airlines into Africa’s growing aviation sector.
"Those state airlines distort information to their governments to prevent us from gaining slots and/or landing rights, as they claim we will be putting them out of business," he said.