Virgin now eyes Dar es Salaam only weeks after dropping Nairobi


Virgin Atlantic

Breaking News

6 weeks after leaving Nairobi, for a number of reasons given in public none of which at the time made much sense, are news just breaking that Virgin will be flying to Dar es Salaam from early 2013, very likely in combination with a stop at Kilimanjaro. It is also understood that this time the airline got the right slots, making for perfect connections from and to the United States via London Heathrow, something which was a major problem for the flights to Nairobi which did not connect easily into the Virgin US network.

A source contacted in the UK feigned surprise at the question, eventually conceding that ‘there might be plans’ before insisting on absolutely protecting the identity, as obviously this early breaking news story will be giving the game away for competitors also flying to Tanzania.

A source at Swissport in Dar es Salaam, likely to be chosen as Virgin’s handling agent, also showed surprise about the news already getting out and would not comment, this again telling more than enough and being sufficient to publish the breaking news.

Virgin is an arch rival of British Airways, which is also flying to Dar es Salaam, and will very likely offer fares below the level of BA, triggering a bonzana for tourists from the US but also starting a head on collision with British Airways which will undoubtedly have to respond in kind.

The new route will be a major coup for Tanzania’s tourism industry, with all the associated promotional activities, as it is recalled with what creative marketing Virgin started its flights to Nairobi a few years ago, and will benefit the safari sector as well as some of the very exclusive beach resorts on Zanzibar and other islands. At the same time it will be depressing news for the Kenyan tourism industry, where stakeholders will be scratching their heads trying to figure out what went wrong for Virgin in Nairobi and what the true reasons for pulling out from Kenya were, only to find out within weeks that Virgin will be flying to neighbouring Tanzania from early 2013.

Watch this space for more information on this exciting development and for breaking aviation news from the Eastern African region, told first time and again.

15 Responses

  1. The Tanzania Tourist Board together with Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro welcome the opportunity to work with Virgin Atlantic, to bring this idea to fruition!

  2. Dar es Salaam is a certainly good move for Virgin. November sees the launch of FastJet; and their first base is Dar es Salaam. Virgin may well benefit from some passengers seeking onward connections to London or elsewhere on Virgin’s network.

  3. I really can’t see Virgin launching this route – No business class demand and surely there are better uses of LHR landing slots? Even BA are onyl 3 weekly on a clapped out 767 to Dar es Salaam. I’d bet on more Indian destinations before this. I’d also think Virgin have more than enough on their plate trying to get the remedy slots and attempting to start short haul next year.

  4. Reblogged this on bintisafaris and commented:
    hmmmmmm really wonder what the politics here was, but as Kenya loses, Tanzania gains more tourist arrivals from Virgin and most probably cheaper flights to the US and UK visitors …..hmmmmmmmmm!

  5. I really hoping Virgin Atlantic could replaced by BA on route to Dar. I always perferred BA because it is only direct flight to there but sadly and shocking, BA set to leave the destination. I think EK, QR and Turkish are very popular for Dar.

  6. I really hope this is true. Sad news that BA decided to leave Tz! I’m sure Virgin will benefit from taking over this route. Direct flights to London will always be a need in Tanzania. I am pretty sure that all BA flights went and arrived full. I still don’t get why BA pulled out of Tz. Oh well, I hope Virgin does enter Tz! Thanks for the information. please let us know if you find out any further updates.