Qatar Airways confirms continued interest in flying to Mombasa town
By Philip Mwakio
| Jan 9th 2015 | 2 min read
Kenya: Qatar Airways has announced intentions to fly to the Port city of Mombasa, bringing to two the number of destinations the airline flies to in Kenya. Qatar Airways flies to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from its Doha hub.
According to excerpts from latest online edition of eTurbo news, Qatar Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker indicated their continued interest to fly into Mombasa. The airline had initially been denied traffic rights by previous regime under former President Mwai Kibaki.
Qatar says the Government of the day withheld traffic rights at the last moment, prompting them to postpone plans to add Mombasa as its second destination within Kenya.
The Qatar Airways boss was, however, swift to acknowledge that President Uhuru Kenyatta had expressed a keener interest to resolve these problems and that his government would welcome a launch of flights to the Kenyan Coast.
He went on to confirm that, as more aircraft are delivered to Qatar Airways, the airline has some 340 pending orders worth over US$70 billion – capacity increases to the Eastern African region could be considered, describing the African continent as one with a large potential for growth but being presently under-served.
Reacting to the news, tourism stakeholders at the Kenyan Coast termed the revelations as a perfect New Year gift for Coast tourism.
"Our tourism status is in very bad shape at the moment with little international arrivals. Qatar Airways will help bridge the gap. It also has other strategic linkages with other world airlines which could also start operating on the Mombasa route," Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch chief executive Sam Ikwaye said.
Mr Ikwaye said the Government should offer more incentives and move fast enough to have an open-sky policy in place.
Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels (KSLH) Acting General Manager Silas Kiti said following the completion of the work of the Tourism Recovery Task Force commissioned by Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Phyllis Kandie, it is everyone's hope that key recommendations would be implemented to help resuscitate tourism.
"Top among what stakeholders want is more airlines to be allowed to fly into Mombasa, which is the hub of Kenyan tourism, to help boost arrivals," Mr Kiti said. He said hoteliers were optimistic the government will further enhance security and ensure that all are safe and free to conduct their businesses here.
Qatar Airways serves Entebbe and Kigali with daily flights while Nairobi and Dar es Salaam have double daily flights and Kilimanjaro is also served daily, with the flight continuing to Dar es Salaam.
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