EAST AFRICA – DUBAI AT 399 US DOLLARS – LET BATTLE COMMENCE
(Posted 24th September 2014)
FlyDubai is on the prowl it seems as only days before the launch of flights to Entebbe, Bujumbura and Kigali has the airline announced that they will also commence flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro. This latest development will substantially widen their network across Eastern Africa with 6 destinations coming on line in the space of less than three weeks. Starting from the 16th of October will the airline offer daily flights from Dubai to Dar es Salaam. Two flights each will then continue to Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro on Wednesdays and Sundays (ZNZ) and Monday and Friday (JRO) respectively.
The launch fares, valid for the first month of operation, are identical to those charged from Entebbe, Bujumbura and Kigali and start from 399 US Dollars return, all taxes included and one piece of checked baggage of 20 kilograms in Economy Class while the airline will charge 1.499 US Dollars return, all taxes included and a baggage allowance of 40 kilograms in Business Class. The news, when broken to a few regular sources in Tanzania yesterday, were met with outright excitement as the prospect of getting more tourists from the Gulf and from across FlyDubai’s network to visit the beaches of Zanzibar and the national parks of the Tanzanian mainland is giving the destination a major marketing boost. Tanzanians will wake up in the morning to the breaking news and like in Uganda is a sudden shift to the new kid on the block expected by travelers going to Dubai at substantially reduced cost, leaving more spending money in the pockets.
Meanwhile has the arrival in Entebbe of low cost carriers started to show an impact on the travel patterns of Ugandans and when FlyDubai released their launch fare of 399 US Dollars return, all taxes and checked baggage included, for flights to the global glitter city, did it not take long for bookings to come in thick and fast.
The same feedback is coming in from Burundi and from Rwanda, the two other new destinations in East Africa FlyDubai will begin to serve this coming weekend, where similar fares have stirred a hitherto almost static travel market and shuffled the deck afresh.
‘This is of course a launch fare and also comes with restrictions’ commented a travel agent in Kampala before adding ‘But it is a good indicator what is going to follow, and fares to Dubai, which remains a very popular destination with Ugandans, will never be the same again. This is a nonstop flight and given the cost, why should travelers now have to fly through other airports where they have to change planes and all that hassle. I don’t think that it will affect Emirates that much because of their different flight product but the other airlines have to prepare for some big challenge ahead. I see a shift in the market coming quite fast because FlyDubai has a good reputation and new planes. Even flights to their other destinations in India or Eastern Europe will be quite cheap compared to other fares now in the market and travelers looking for good deals will for sure have a new best friend now’.
What is good news for travelers from East Africa will also be good news for visitors from the Gulf and beyond, which are presently connected to the FlyDubai network as coming to Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania will suddenly be much more affordable, hopefully boosting demand for safaris and beach vacations across the four countries’ national parks, the shores of their lakes and of the Indian Ocean.
‘I hope the tourist boards will work hand in hand with FlyDubai to tap into a new market segment and promote travel to East Africa in places like Russia and India and the Balkans. The high airfares have made visits to our part of the world for many a distant dream, but now, with low fares, suddenly many more potential visitors can afford to come here for a holiday’ said a fellow scribe after sharing the news with him.
It is to be seen which of the four tourist boards will be fastest out of the blocks to discuss and then sign an MoU with FlyDubai to promote and market the East African region’s wide range of tourist attractions.
Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across Eastern Africa.