Uganda Airlines will Monday launch its direct flight to Kenya’s port city of Mombasa in a move government believes will boost tourism and trade.
The inaugural flight to the second destination the airline is making in Kenya (after Nairobi) will depart 11:30am Monday. It will take passengers an hour and 45 minutes to connect from Entebbe International Airport to Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Speaking at the pre-launch news conference in Kenya last week, Uganda’s Consul General in Mombasa, Katureebe Tayebwa, said the Uganda Airline’s route to Mombasa will be a relief to Ugandan traders who use the Port of Mombasa to import and export cargo.
“We are confirming that Uganda is joining the list of other airlines in colouring the regional airspace. The entry of Uganda Airlines is not to compete but to add value and help create a more enabling environment to thrive and boost the economy of the East African region,” he said.
Mombasa has been chosen because of its strategic location, Katureebe said, adding “being a tourist town, the second largest city in Kenya, and an entry point for most of Uganda’s goods”.
The airline will be making three flights to Mombasa a week. A return ticket will cost USD 318.
Our maiden flight to Mombasa is just hours away, are you ready to come with us?
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“We shall be having a number of trades coming to Mombasa to check on their cargo,” Ambassador Katureebe added.
Mombasa will also be of great significance to Uganda, who’s tourism sector currently earns the country the highest foreign exchange. Uganda is looking to grow its annual tourist arrivals from the current 2 million and Mombasa which is a tourism hub could be a window to redirect part of Kenya’s visitors to Uganda as next stop.
Stretching for miles along the mainland to the north and south, Mombasa’s beach resorts preside over palm-studded strands fringed by shimmering coral reefs.
Tourists from Europe and beyond flock here to enjoy the many things to do – from dolphin spotting trips on traditional dhows and deep-sea fishing to diving and snorkeling the wrecks and reefs and basking on the sun-splashed shores.
Lenny Malasi, the Sales Manager for Uganda Airlines, Kenya said: ” We have a lot of business interests in Kenya. There is as well the tourist market which seems to be growing every day”.
Last month, Uganda Airline received an additional 2 Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft expanding its fleet of the model to 4, a delivery that will see the newly revived airline extend its flights to more regional routes.
The airline now adds Mombasa to other destinations like Mogadishu, Nairobi, Juba, Bujumbura, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam.
Officials from the airline say more routes like Kigali, Lusaka, Harare, Eritrea, Zanzibar, Kinshasa, Ethiopia and Johannesburg are soon to be added.
Commenting recently on Uganda Airlines’ commercial viability and it’s comparative advantage, Jeniffer Bamuturaki, the Commercial Director said: “We have made our schedules as flexible as possible for the passenger. We don’t have intermediaries points. Dar es Salam we go direct, same as Mogadishu”.
“So, people are able to save time”.
She stressed that the airline will prioritize the issue of time keeping as was the case on the initial flight. The Commercial Director added that they will ensure there is quality service.