NARROWBODY VERSUS WIDEBODY, DOHA VERSUS DUBAI VERSUS THE REST OF THEM
With the start of flights by Qatar Airways, connecting Doha daily with Entebbe with an Airbus A320, the question is now arising which way the loyalty of regular travelers will go. Emirates, already offering daily flights between Dubai and Entebbe, serves the route with a more comfortable wide bodied aircraft in a classic three class configuration of First, Business and Economy, but operates their flight via Addis Ababa, which adds considerably to the travelling time. Qatar Airways in contrast will use a single aisle aircraft in two class configuration of First and Economy, with Business sadly absent, but go nonstop to Doha, from where a growing network of global destinations by the self acclaimed 5star airline offers swift connections.
Emirates, without doubt the most senior of the Gulfs airline cousins, is the best known and best connected in terms of destinations and frequencies, and their frequent flyer programme and stop over options are second to none.
Yet, complacency kills the cat and the arrival of Qatar Airways is adding more options for Ugandan travelers, already being lured by very low fares when Turkish commenced operations to Entebbe. Like THY is Qatar expanding their destinations in Africa and across the globe with the aim to tap into the growing traffic potential both to as well as from the African continent, connecting passengers via their hub in Doha, where a brand new airport is also being constructed, expected to offer the very best services for connecting passengers with a Duty Free shopping array being created ready to rival Dubai.
Ugandans are now spoilt for choice when travelling abroad. Connecting via Nairobi with Kenya Airways, for many still is a choice option, and by nonstop and direct flights with key European carriers like Brussels Airlines, KLM, British Airways are now complemented by daily flights via Addis Ababa with Ethiopian, Turkish via Istanbul, Egypt Air via Cairo, the daily South African Airways flights via Johannesburg and of course the daily services by Emirates via Dubai.
The lastest new kid on the block Qatar Airways, renowned for their award winning inflight services, will have to pull something special out of the hat in terms of fares to break into this phalanx of established airlines and make their mark, but a strong team of staff has been assembled in Kampala and Entebbe to sell seats and handle passengers, all of them with long good standing in the industry, something which will surely help to make an immediate impact on Ugandan travelers.
Adds this correspondent in closing: Cant wait for the inaugural flight to touch down in Entebbe, helping to put Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, on the world map some more.