Since 1902

Airline resumes charter flights

By Philip Mwakio

Kenyan tourism got a shot in the arm with the arrival in Mombasa of a direct air service  operated by Condor from Vienna, Austria, yesterday.

The service, which last landed at the Moi International Airport (MIA) in 2009, will be a weekly flight, with Condor using a Boeing 737-300 ER  for the route.

The airline stopped direct flight from Vienna to Mombasa five years ago due to low passengers loads.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Account Manager based in Germany,  Guido Burger, said the new service will be a major boost to the Kenyan tourism sector as it will offer direct flights to tourists from both Germany and Austria.

“It is the first flight this winter season and we expect a valuation once the summer season sets in to gauge its viability here. The Southern German market will be key beneficiary to this service,’’ he said.

The flight, which landed at 7am, was received by Mombasa County Deputy Governor Hazel Katana, Mombasa County Executive in charge of Tourism Anthony Njaramba, KTB Head of Human Resource Voi Chyulu and Regional Manager in charge of German cluster market Betty Ichan.

Katana  urged stakeholders in the tourism industry to ensure high quality service to attract more tourists to the country.

She challenged key service providers like water  and electricity suppliers to ensure that Mombasa and the adjoining tourist resorts have an uninterrupted supply of both water and electricity.

Njaramba said the re-introduction of the service signifies the confidence that overseas tour operators had in destination Kenya.

REGAIN LOST GLORY

“This is a big plus for us. The Mombasa county government places tourism ahead of all other sectors and will strive to ensure that Mombasa regains its lost glory as a premier tourist destination,’’ Njaramba said.

Ichan  said  Kenya stood to benefit more from  the large and resilient German market with additional charter flights.

“The German market has continued to grow  in numbers and we have witnessed a 5.2 per cent growth  and remain optimistic that with additional flights by Condor and other major international airlines, we can achieve the targeted 3 million arrivals by 2017,’’ Ichan noted.