East Africa Travel And Tourism News
Elementaita – More Than Meets The Eye!
Lake Elementaita is today recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site after earlier on being listed as a Ramsar site (wetland of international importance) and is regularly home to millions of lesser flamingos and also an important stop over for migratory birds.
Over 350 species of birds have been counted by keen birdwatchers who often take a guided nature walk to the bird watcher’s paradise considered one of the most fabulous bird spectacles in the world. A hot spring believed by the local communities to have medicinal values also feeds the lake from underground.
Situated 120 km from Nairobi and 28 km from Nakuru and set at an altitude of 1670 meters above the sea level, Lake Elementaita Lodge has a very rich history:
Much has been written here in the past about the Delamare Estate and more recently of the Soysambu Conservancy which was established on the Delamare land
Kenya Airways To Ditch Jeddah Route in September
National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) says it will stop flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from mid-September.
Flyers on the direct flights after September 14 will be rerouted or rebooked through KQ partner airlines.
“We will continue to serve our customers in Jeddah through our existing cooperation with partner Airlines,” said Kenya Airways chief commercial officer Vincent Coste.
The suspension will not affect those traveling for Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
This year, the five-day pilgrimage will be concluded in August 24, 2018.
According to KQ, the decision to suspend flights to Jeddah is consistent with its strategy to improve network efficiency and focus on high yield Corporate and Premium Leisure segments.
The carrier is set to have its maiden flight to New York and has introduced direct flights to Mauritius and Cape Town
Uganda Orders Two Airbus A330neo’s At Farnborough Air Show
Uganda Airlines, the national carrier of Uganda, has signed a memorandum of understanding for two A330-800neo, the new version of the best-selling A330 widebody airliner, featuring new wings, new Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines, new systems and a new ‘Airspace’ cabin interior.
The agreement was announced at Farnborough airshow earlier today by Ephraim Bagenda, CEO of Uganda Airlines and Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer.
Uganda Airlines plans to use the A330-800neos to build its international long-haul network with the aircraft offering cutting-edge technologies along with most efficient operations. The aircraft will feature a three-class cabin layout comprising 20 Business, 28 Premium Economy and 213 Economy seats.
“This agreement demonstrates our ambition for economic growth supported by a robust aviation industry. The A330-800neo combines low operating costs, long range flying capability and high levels of comfort. We are looking forward to launch operations and offer our customers best-in-class service”, said Ephraim Bagenda, CEO of Uganda Airlines.
“We are delighted to welcome Uganda Airlines among our A330neo customers, the A330neo will bring a range of benefits offering unrivaled efficiencies combined with the most modern cabin. We look forward to see the A330-800neo flying in the colors of Uganda”, said Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer.
Launched in July 2014, the A330neo Family is the new generation A330, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900 sharing 99 percent commonality. It builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 Family while reducing fuel consumption by about 25 percent per seat versus previous generation competitors and increasing range by up to 1,500 nm compared to the majority of A330s in operation.
The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span and new A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets. The cabin provides the comfort of the new Airspace amenities.
Air Tanzania brings competition to Regional Airlines
Air Tanzania starts direct flights from Dar es Salaam to Entebbe and Bujumbura later next month, bringing competition to the doorstep of Kenya Airways and RwandaAir — and convenience and savings to the regional traveler.
The Kenyan and Rwandan national carriers have over the years dominated these routes via their respective hubs in Nairobi and Kigali.
The Tanzania national carrier, which is barely into its second year of operation, revealed that it will start a four-times-a-week direct flight to Entebbe from Dar es Salaam and a three times a week flight to Bujumbura, on two routes which other airlines had tried to feed connecting traffic to their hubs.
The direct flights offer relief to regional travelers who have had to endure the complex and unattractive connecting options on these two routes, which are routinely time-consuming and costly.
For one to fly between Tanzania and Uganda, a connection must be made through Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport.
Air Tanzania will charge $363 for a return ticket to Entebbe, flying on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Its Bujumbura clients will pay $358 for a return ticket with flights scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This is less than the average of $390 that travelers pay to get to Bujumbura and Dar es Salaam via either Nairobi, Kigali or Addis, with an additional three to six hours connecting time.
Service and brand
Direct flights to Uganda and Burundi will eat into the earnings of Kenya Airways, which has enjoyed a near monopoly of the Dar-Nairobi-Entebbe route, its most profitable in the region.
KQ’s 15 years of dominance at the Entebbe hub could end, especially if Uganda revives its national carrier by November.
Kenya’s Transport Principal Secretary Paul Maringa, however, said the plans by Uganda and Tanzania would not affect KQ, given that part of the efforts to revamp the airline are aimed at making it competitive in the region.
“The increased competition will not affect the operations of Kenya Airways. We will bank on the service and brand to get an edge over the competition. Kenya Airways remains dominant on most of the routes and the expected flight to the US will give it an edge within the region,” Prof Maringa said.
KQ has at least four daily flights to Dar es Salaam, five to Entebbe, four to Lusaka and at least one more other daily flight to Livingstone (both in Zambia), routes that Air Tanzania will be seeking to claw back in the short term as it charts its recovery.
Nicanor Sabula, the chief executive of the Kenya Association of Travel Agents, said the sector welcomes Air Tanzania as it will introduce competition and cut the cost of flying.
“We will be cautiously optimistic because we understand the sustainability question that arises in running an airline. The history of passenger numbers and traffic on particular routes has seen some airlines scale down frequency or even introduce connectivity in a bid to remain afloat. So do not be surprised if (Air Tanzania) introduce another connection via Kigali because these routes are a game of numbers for an airline seeking to make money,” Mr Sabula said.
Already, both Kenya Airways and RwandAir have been doing connections out of Kigali to Bujumbura for onward flights to Nairobi, mostly driven by the low numbers from Bujumbura.
Charles Kahuthu, the chief executive officer of the East African Chamber of Commerce, said that the lack of the traffic on some of these routes has been the biggest challenge.
“We have seen an increase in trade and business opportunities between Dar and Entebbe. Dar es Salaam has been very aggressive in Uganda marketing its port and this has driven up trade between the two countries. This is the market this airline will be keen on serving,” Mr Kahuthu said.
Air Tanzania is expecting a fourth aircraft, a CS 300 Bombardier, from Canada in November, for both domestic and regional routes.
The airline also plans to launch new routes to Harare, Johannesburg, and Lusaka. It will then consider the Rwanda and Nairobi routes.
Last weekend, it received the first of two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, which should start serving domestic destinations including Mwanza, Kilimanjaro and also Entebbe and Bujumbura, in the first week of August, after the fleet crew completes training.
“We expect to use this aircraft on the Mumbai route and will later fly to Guangzhou in China as we seek business on the Asian routes,” Mr Matindi said.
Currently, the airline operates one international flight to Moroni in the Comoros Islands. Domestically, it flies to Mbeya, Dodoma, Songea, Mwanza, Mbeya, Tabora, Kigoma, Mtwara and Bukoba.
“We are also adding new domestic routes in Tanzania to include Iringa, Mpanda, Tanga as well as Shinyanga, which will push our destinations to 17 by the end of the year,” Mr Matindi said.
The EastAfrican understands that Air Tanzania is also in the process of establishing its own ground handling, maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar facility, the construction of an executive lounge and in-flight catering units at the Julius Nyerere International Airport as part of its restructuring and growth.
“Just over half the routes (12 out of 22) are operated at lower than daily frequency and just over a third (8 out of 22) are operated twice daily or more. This low frequency makes short-duration trips (departing and returning the same day) difficult, whereas these are particularly important for business trips. The situation varies by country — while nearly half the routes from Kenya operate twice daily or more, no routes from Burundi operate at that frequency and few do so in the other EAC countries,” the report says.