A weekend of inaugural flights in East and South Africa


(Posted 02nd July 2017)

There was cause for celebration this weekend in Entebbe / Uganda, on Zanzibar, in Nairobi and last but not least in Victoria Falls, all receiving inaugural flights and counting their blessings for the additional inflow of passengers and improved connectivity.


Kenya’s premier safari, bush and beach airline, Safarilink, launched their flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to the Spice Island of Zanzibar, providing the most convenient connection from the Kenyan capital to the island of Unguja, the main one of the Zanzibar archipelago.

(CEO John Buckley and Marketing Director Anu Vohora seen here on board their inaugural flight to Zanzibar in a celebratory mood)

CEO John Buckley and Marketing Director Anu Vohora led a delegation of travel agents, tour operators and other invited guests who flew to the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport to celebrate the new connection and to meet the local tourism trade representatives to talk business and how best to capitalize on the new air link.

Meanwhile did Entebbe yesterday morning celebrate the return of Precision Air to Uganda when an ATR42-500, named Bukoba, landed at 10.30 in the morning to a water cannon welcome as the plane turned into the parking position. Notably was the loadfactor on the first outbound flight which routed via Kilimanjaro to Dar es Salaam, already impressive, signalling commercial success as Ugandans can now once again visit Tanzania, on business or for leisure, without having to transit elsewhere.


Nairobi too got a piece of the action when, a month ‘overdue’ did Emirates finally launch their third daily flight between Dubai and the Kenyan capital, adding the capacity of another Boeing B777 to the market. This third daily flight was warmly welcomed by the Kenyan tourism fraternity for the prospect of bringing in yet more visitors to the country, be it on business or for leisure. The latter are expected to explore the country’s 60 or so national parks or enjoy the white sand beaches between Lamu, Malindi, Kilifi, Mombasa and all the way via Tiwi and Diani to Shimoni at the border with Tanzania. Long under doubt over inexplicable utterances by the then Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport who suddenly felt inclined to throw the open air agreement between the UAE and Kenya out of the window – he was subsequently and hastily move to a less sensitive position in the civil service – is it good to see that common sense prevailed in the end and Kenya, as a result, will get more than 2.500 extra inbound seats every week from now on.

Finally will later today South Africa’s Airlink, a South African Airways affiliate company, launch a six times a week service from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, connecting two of Africa’s most iconic destinations. The airline will use a single class configured Embraer E190 for the flight, the first such aircraft to be put into service in South Africa.

It is a weekend of celebrations therefore for the continent’s aviation and tourism industries from Eastern all the way to Southern Africa and hopefully a harbinger of better days to come for Africa’s tourism future.