National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) could soon run out of regional business, as the recently launched Uganda Airlines threatens to eat up the remaining ‘small’ market that is keeping it (KQ) afloat.
In what it termed as a move to boost tourism between Kenya and Uganda, Uganda Airlines said it is now launching a new direct route from Entebbe to Mombasa.
The maiden flight to Mombasa International Airport will be on November 11, with the airliner making three trips to Kenya’s second largest city every Monday, Friday and Sunday.
“We expect to make first flight on Monday next week with 76 passengers on board. We are working with different stakeholders including the Kenya Tourism Board, hoteliers and travelling agents to ensure the airline rules the skies,” Uganda Airlines sales manager in Kenya, Lenny Malasi said.
Initially, the route has been dominated by KQ, and the launch is set to eat up its market even as loss-making persists.
The return tickets will starting November 11 go for Ksh32, 610.
“We are flying to Nairobi, Dar es Salam, Juba, Mogadishu, Bujumbura and Kilimanjaro. We hope to increase our number of flights per week in such towns in the near future,” he added.
In October, Uganda Airlines received two new CRJ900 planes from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier doubling its fleet size.
According to its commercial director Jennifer Bamuturaki two new aircraft would boost fleet and route coverage including two daily flights to the three day Dar es Salaam route and doubling the daily flights to Juba.
In December the airline plans a route expansion targeting Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Kigali, Lusaka, Harare, Johannesburg and Addis Ababa.
A KQ subsidiary, Jambojet is set to launch daily flights to the capital of Rwanda, Kigali starting November 25.
“The new route to Kigali is part of our regional expansion programme bringing the total number of our international routes in the continent to three, with the exception to those we fly to on behalf of Kenya Airways, and a total of 9 routes in the Jambojet network,” said Allan Kilavuka, Chief Executive Officer, Jambojet.