SAFARILINK SHARE FUTURE PLANS AS AIR KENYA ALSO PROVIDES UPDATES ON CHANGES
(Posted 20TH March 2015)
Safarilink, one of Kenya’s premier ‘safari’ airlines with an equal part of ‘regular’ flights across their network, has today announced the launch of their own frequent flyer programme. Passengers, in particular on their routes regularly used by local travelers to such destinations like Lodwar, Ukunda or Lamu, will from the 01st of April onwards be able to accumulate bonus points which – and full details will be available from Safarilink in a few days – can then be converted into benefits and free tickets.
While confirming the development did Anu Vohora, one of Safarilink’s Directors, also give the clearest indication yet that plans are well advanced to include the increasingly popular Vipingo Ridge with their scheduled flights from Wilson Airport to Lamu. Vipingo has a 1.5 kilometre long hard surface runway, which allows for the use of larger turboprop aircraft capable to fly not only passengers from the Safarilink network to Vipingo but their golfbags too.
A recent site inspection and discussion with the Vipingo Ridge management in fact indicated that they were keen to establish Vipingo as an alternative for local residents living between Mtwapa and Kilifi to the main international airport in Mombasa. ‘Our airstrip in Vipingo could become a real alternative to Moi International’ said Mike Round-Turner at the time before adding ‘Residents from Mtwapa to Kilifi could fly out of Vipingo to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport without the long drive through the often jammed outskirts of Mombasa. Vipingo could become the Ukunda kind of airfield for the north coast. Once confirmation is there about regular scheduled flights we will be providing a shelter and facilities at the field for the passengers who chose to fly out of or into Vipingo even though they are not guests on the estate and just use the airstrip’.
In a related development did John Buckley, CEO of Safarilink, also confirm that the airline had secured traffic rights from Wilson Airport to Mwanza, Tanzania’s lakeside city, but the latest aviation dispute, reported here in breaking news three days ago, had for the time being at least stalled the launch of flights until BASA issues between Kenya and Tanzania have been resolved. For added information about destinations, fares and flight schedules visit www.flysafarilink.com
In other news was it also confirmed that Air Kenya will be joining Safarilink on the route to Migori on the Kenyan side of the border with Tanzania, from where arrangements are in place to transport tourists across, customs and immigration handled there, to the airstrip in nearby Tarime, where sister company Regional Air will then take over the passengers for flights into the central Serengeti’s Seronera airfield or even as far as the famous Selous Game Reserve. These flights will link the Kenyan Masai Mara with the adjoining Serengeti without having to go through either Nairobi’s JKIA and Kilimanjaro or Wilson and Kilimanjaro, which is broadly seen as a waste of tourists’time when visiting both parks.
Air Kenya also announced some changes to their scheduled flights to the Mara with the introduction of an early morning flight while at the same time confirming that their scheduled service to Nakuru will be withdrawn with immediate effect. Passengers already booked and paid for will however still be flown to and from Nakuru. Services from Wilson Airport to Meru – Air Kenya is the only airline offering scheduled flights to one of Kenya’s most underrated national park system – but also to Samburu, Lewa Downs and Nanyuki will continue to operate without a change. Flights to Samburu will all use the Kalama airfield and options to fly into the Oryx and Buffalo airstrips will only be available by chartered flights. Air Kenya had earlier on confirmed that they will keep their present fares unchanged for the entire 2015 and 2016, reflecting both a reduction in fuel cost but also the changed market conditions. For fuller details on the airline’s schedule click on www.airkenya.com