Information was received from a regular source in Kenya that Emirates, Dubais award winning national airline, intends to set up an office in Mombasa to tap into the increasingly important market from the Kenyan coast. It could not be established if the planned start of scheduled flights by Gulf rival Qatar Airways to Mombasa has anything to do with that, but it is generally thought that the increased competition from other airlines like Qatar Airways or even Etihad, now also flying daily to Nairobi, has prompted Emirates to take a fresh look at both destinations in Eastern Africa but also their service levels on the ground.
Only days ago was information availed that Emirates was actively looking at flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport, following the start of daily flights by Qatar Airways to JRO, an indication that competition does prompt the change of mind set, as was the case when Emirates was compelled to drop the stopover between Dubai and Entebbe in Addis Ababa, as rival airlines offered nonstop connections to their own hubs in the Gulf.
A travel agent from Mombasa, periodically contributing opinions, said: That would be great news. Emirates is an airline in demand, even though they do not fly to Mombasa (yet). To connect to their double daily B777 service from Nairobi to Dubai or beyond our passengers need to fly to Nairobi first. It will be an advantage also in terms of ticketing and sales support to have an office in Mombasa. And who knows, perhaps this is the start of possible flights here, we could use another scheduled airline to come to Mombasa on a daily basis. It would boost tourism and trade too. Great development.
Regular sources close to the airline would only in the broadest terms confirm their plans for a Mombasa office but were unable or unwilling to comment on speculation this may be the precursor of scheduled flights, emulating Qatar Airways which has also announced their intention to fly daily to Kenyas second city. Watch this space.