Economic fortunes for the Port City of Mombasa are on an upward swing, County Governor Ali Hassan Joho has said.
Joho said that mega infrastructure project like roads, rail and air connectivity have all added to the growing importance of Mombasa.
Governor Joho made the remarks when he presided over the official launch of early morning flights out of Mombasa to Wilson Airport, Nairobi by Silverstone Air, a low cost carrier.
Speaking when he graced the official launch dinner for tour and travel agents at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa, Joho said that he was impressed with the confidence the management of the airline had in introducing an early flight out of Mombasa and pledged his government's full support to the firm.
'' Mombasa is on a rebound. We are seeing alot of positive developments all geared towards making the common person comfortable,'' he said.
Joho said said that what Silverstone Air has done is to give Kenyans opportunities to explore Mombasa and the area areas it flies to like Kisumu, Maasai Mara, Lamu, Diani and Malindi which are ideal tourist attraction and business centres.
'' I am duly informed that ever since Silverstone Air made a first in launching the only direct air connection linking the two Port cities of Mombasa and Kisumu, all the flights are always fully booked,'' he said.
Joho said that destination Mombasa was picking up so well in terms of tourism arrivals and that his county government was working closely with the national government to ensure that the Port city and the county at large remains an attractive destination.
'' This coming week, our county shall be hosting a global aviation conference which will later on be followed by a meeting for medical practitioners, maritime conference and the World Skal Congress later in the month of October,'' he said.
He added that they will require lots of logistical support from investors adding that with air connectivity services by Silverstone Air and other airlines that fly into Mombasa, access will be made easier and faster.
Silverstone Air Sales and Marketing Manager, Mr Patrick Oketch will now be serving Mombasa with flights terminating or starting at its Wilson Airport hub 16 times a week featuring two daily flights on weekdays and three daily flights on weekends.
'' We shall be deploying our 50 seater Bombadier Dash 8 Q-300 series and the Fokker 50 at an introductory price of sh 4,600 one way,'' Oketch said.
And to serve their customers professionally, Oketch said that they have established a 24 hour call centre located at the the KenRail Towers, Westlands, Nairobi.
Kenya Tourist Federation (KTF) chairman, Mr Mohamed Hersi who is also Director of Operations with Pollmans Tours & Safaris challenged the management of Silverstone Air to consider connecting the East African region by extending their operations within the East African Community (EAC) region.
'' Look beyond Kenya. Infact we have very good traffic (tourists) coming into our country from neighbouring Uganda. And considering the fact that fares charged in a no -frills and low budget airline are affordable, Uganda could be an easy pick,'' Hersi said.
Hersi conceded that airline business is tough and requires alot of planning and sound finances.
On his part, Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) chairman, Mr Victor Shitakah while welcoming the new morning flights by Silverstone Air said that it was becoming easier for all to afford flying.
'' It is no longer a preserve for the rich. With sh 4000 bob, one could hop onto a plane and fly,'' he said.
Also present at the colourful event which was graced by sensational Kenyan song bird Akothee, Otile Brown , Susumila and Dazla were Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) CEO,Mr Nicanor Sabula ,Silverstone Air Directors Captain Mohamed Somow and Capt Mahat Somow and Finance Manager, Mr David Ojuang respectively.