Qatar Air­ways to start di­rect Mom­basa flights in De­cem­ber

Business Daily (Kenya) - - CORPORATE NEWS - Brian Ngugi bn­­tion­ The air­line joins car­ri­ers such as Ethiopian Air­lines, Turk­ish Air­lines and Rwandair

Qatar Air­ways will launch di­rect flights to Kenya’s sec­ond big­gest city Mom­basa in De­cem­ber in a move that steps up com­pe­ti­tion for do­mes­tic car­ri­ers.

The four-times weekly ser­vice be­tween Doha and Mom­basa will be Qatar Air­ways’ sec­ond Kenyan des­ti­na­tion, in ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing flights to Nairobi.

They will be op­er­ated with an Air­bus A320, with 12 busi­ness class and 120 econ­omy class seats, with a flight time of just over six hours.

The State-owned air­line joins in­ter­na­tional car­ri­ers such as Ethiopian Air­lines, Turk­ish Air­lines and Rwandair, which cur­rently fly di­rectly into the coastal city.

Their op­er­a­tions are seen to pile pres­sure on Kenya Air­ways (KQ), which un­til re­cently dom­i­nated the in­ter­na­tional trans­fers be­tween Nairobi and Mom­basa.

Un­like these car­ri­ers, KQ has to pass through its Nairobi hub be­fore pro­ceed­ing to Mom­basa, mak­ing Qatar’s De­cem­ber en­try a com­pet­i­tive threat to its busi­ness model.

Mom­basa is Kenya’s main coastal tourist des­ti­na­tion and a pop­u­lar gate­way to the Kenya’s white beaches and coral reef div­ing.

The cos­mopoli­tan city has also be­come a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for in­ter­na­tional tourists thanks to its di­verse cul­tural mix and old town charm.

Ethiopian Air­lines an­nounced in June it will fly to Mom­basa twice daily, fur­ther rais­ing the stakes for KQ.

Kenya signed the open sky agree­ment to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity across the con­ti­nent and make it more af­ford­able, which has seen the na­tional car­rier face tougher com­pe­ti­tion on its back­bone African routes.

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