Disney World here we come … starting in September that is


(Posted 26th March 2015)

Travelers from East Africa can look forward to join over 59 million visitors who come annually to the Orlando / Florida area mainly to visit Disney World, the company’s second US bases theme park after Disneyland which is located outside Los Angeles. Come September 01st will Emirates launch daily services from Dubai, with easy connections out of their East African destinations Entebbe, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. While Entebbe is served by daily flights does both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam get double daily services, all operated on wide body aircraft.

The airlines intends to use a Boeing B777-200LR for the flight which allows for nonstop operations even with a full payload of cargo and passengers. Notably has Emirates put a codeshare agreement into place with JetBlue, which will give their passengers the option to fly beyond Orlando to some 24 additional destinations.

The development comes hot on the heels of a major spat with US based airlines which have made a range of wide ranging, and perhaps wild allegations over the way the main Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad do business. The CEO’s of the three Gulf based giants however have hit back against the smear campaign and asked to either provide irrefutable evidence for the allegations made or else shut up and get on with competing on service levels, new aircraft fleets and global connectivity.

With few US airlines flying into Africa apart from a handful of services to West Africa, do American airlines have little standing on the African continent and the very public debate over alleged subsidies has generated no sympathy for any of them in Africa. This applies in particular to East Africa where Delta has in the past twice announced flights into Nairobi only to twice postpone such flights indefinitely. Perhaps time for the three American legacy carriers to take a step back, take a deep breath and properly analyze why the Gulf airlines have made such inroads into the African market, one which they, American, United and Delta, clearly shunned in the past.