Qatar Airways confirms continued interest in Mombasa flights but needs traffic rights first


(Posted 08th January 2015)

(From left to right: Mr. Didier Evrard, Mr. Akbar Al Baker and Mr. Eric Schultz)

The press conference yesterday at the Premium Terminal of the old airport in Doha saw Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, together with the Airbus Executive Vice President Didier Evrard and the Rolls Royce President of Civil Large Engines Eric Schultz give an overview of the development of the new Airbus A350WB, before then answering questions from the local, regional and international media.

We are ready to commence operations with the A350 XWB and are delighted to introduce another level of service with our expanded fleet. The engineering design of the A350 XWB is modern, technologically refined and spacious, and we are proud to welcome yet another fine aeroplane into the Qatar Airways’ fleet’ said Mr. Al Baker. He then confirmed the launch of flight operations for the new aircraft for the 15th of January with daily flights to Frankfurt. The airline has a further 79 such planes, both the A350XWB-900 and the upcoming larger variant A350XWB-1000 on order which will be delivered until the end of the current decade.

When answering questions from this correspondent did Mr. Al Baker clearly say that Qatar Airways continued to be interested in flying to Mombasa, but that the Kenyan government of the day at the time at the last moment withheld traffic rights, prompting the airline to indefinitely postpone plans to add a second destination within Kenya.

He was however swift to acknowledge that President Uhuru Kenyatta had expressed a keener interest to resolve these problems and that his government would welcome a launch of flights to the Kenyan coast. He went on to confirm that, as more aircraft are delivered to Qatar Airways – the airline has some 340 pending orders worth over 70 billion US Dollars – capacity increases to the Eastern African region could be considered, describing the African continent as one with a large potential for growth but being presently underserved. QR serves Entebbe and Kigali with daily flights while Nairobi and Dar es Salaam have double daily flights and Kilimanjaro is served daily too, that flight continuing to Dar es Salaam.

The discoveries of oil and gas in East Africa have raised the spectrum beyond ‘just tourism’ with an anticipated rise in demand for business travelers too and Qatar Airways is thought to be an ideal partner airline as the State of Qatar is the highest natural gas exporter in the world now.

While no date has been set for Mombasa it is understood that bilateral talks are ongoing at present, trying to resolve the damage done by the Kibaki government at the time when in rapid succession two planned routes saw traffic rights withheld at very short notice. One of those was the route from Doha via Nairobi to Kilimanjaro and the other for the route from Doha via Dar es Salaam to Mombasa. Both routes, it was told at the time, had received indications that fifth freedom rights were to be given but then, on the eve of the inaugural flights, were those verbal assurances exposed as lacking in seriousness.

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2 Responses

  1. I really hope Qatar get flying rights to Mombasa Kenya,as we have flown with them in business class to Australia they were excellent ,I expect Kenya airways might complain but the Kenyan economy will Benifit by Qatar flying to the coast.

  2. What a pity ! I am flying next week with Qatar from Milan to Kenya and would have really appreciated to fly ahead to Mombasa, my end destination but now i have to take a domestic flight. For flying Kenya Airways from NBO to MBS i would need to wait more than 5 hours so had to chose FLY540. Hopefully soon DOHA-MOMBASA !!!

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