German airline Lufthansa to resume Nairobi flights

German airline Lufthansa is finally set to resume flight connections with Nairobi on October 25 after an 18-year absence.

Making the announcement at the just-ended fifth edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) in Diani, Kwale County, Lufthansa General Manager for Kenya and Ethiopia Tobias Ernst said the airline will operate an Airbus A340 for the Frankfurt-Nairobi route.

"We shall be flying directly three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays," Mr Ernst said. The journey from Frankfurt to Nairobi takes eight hours.

He added that they were looking at possibilities of increasing flight rotations to Nairobi, especially during the long December holidays.

"Kenya is an economic powerhouse in the region and we are keen to help bring in tourists into this market, which has remained resilient despite the major challenges it has faced in the last two years," he said.

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the launch of flights by Lufthansa will enhance Nairobi's status as a regional hub.

"We are delighted that Lufthansa is making a comeback to Nairobi as one of its destinations. This is bound to have a positive impact on Kenya's tourism sector considering Germany is one of our key source markets," said Mr Muriithi.

According to a statement from the carrier, the airline will leave Lufthansa's Frankfurt hub at 1110 hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (and on Fridays from December 11 to the end of January 2016).

The return aircraft will take off from Nairobi as a night flight in the late evening and land the morning of the following day at Frankfurt Airport.

"The flight times are thus optimally aligned to flights from Germany, Europe and the North Atlantic," read the statement.

And given Lufthansa's expansive destination network in Europe, North and South America, Ndegwa said the latest move offered an opportunity for the tourism sector to scale up marketing efforts in these regions.

"It's not just the German market that we will be targeting but also countries where Lufthansa flies to. We are currently implementing a global marketing campaign as part of tourism sector recovery efforts, and the decision by Lufthansa is, therefore, timely," the KTB boss added.

Before this, Lufthansa has over time relied on partners like Swissair and Brussels Airlines, which are code-shared to connect their passengers to Nairobi.