KENYA AIRWAYS TO ADD N’DJAMENA / CHAD
Effective 19th of June will Kenya Airways commence initially twice weekly flights on Sunday and Wednesday to N’djamena in Chad, via Cotonou / Benin. This 54th destination overall has reaffirmed Kenya Airways’ lead on the African continent and information from the airline’s head office confirms that by 2013 a further 7 African capitals will be served by Kenya Airways in what is set to become the most extensive route network connecting Nairobi with the rest of Africa.
The flights to N’djamena via Cotonou will be operated with the B737-800 aircraft and bookings are now possible with immediate effect while schedule details are available via the Kenya Airways website www.kenya-airways.com
Happy Landings as the Pride of Africa continues to spread the wings across the African continent.
SUN PRINCESS CALLS ON VICTORIA HARBOUR
Princess Cruise Lines’ Sun Princess called on Victoria Harbour yesterday for a day long visit, during which many of the 1.900 passengers disembarked to stroll through the capital of the Seychelles while the ship was replenished with water, fuel and other supplies. The ‘new generation’ cruise liner towered over all the other cargo vessels in port that day and many Seychellois flocked to the harbour to get a glimpse of the huge ship while the tourists visited land marks in Victoria and the main market to shop for some indigenous souvenirs.
Sadly the Seychelles has been hit in recent years by the precautionary withdrawal of a number of cruise lines from the Indian Ocean as a result of ocean terrorists roaming the expanse of the ocean off Somalia which has prompted safety concerns by the companies and the passengers. Subsequently the classic Indian Ocean cruises covering the Seychelles, Mombasa, Zanzibar and often Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and then South Africa largely disappeared from the cruise lines’ brochures until the menace from hell has been cleared off the Indian Ocean waters, a measure long overdue by the naval coalition divided by different rules of engagement which have to be uniform and robust if not harsh to succeed.
In a soon to be published interview with the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy yesterday, the Honourable Joel Morgan, is was clearly stated that the ocean terrorists had caused a substantial impact on the Seychelles three main economic sectors of tourism, fishing and trade, and that the government of Seychelles would leave no option unexplored and would pursue a continued policy of robust responses to any intrusion into her economic exclusion zone of 200 nautical miles. At the same time the minister also assured this correspondent that the Seychelles government was continuously monitoring the sea lanes and the access to all islands of the archipelago to ensure the safety of her citizens and visitors alike and that there was absolutely no cause for concern that the Somali ocean terrorists would ever be able to make landfall as seen recently at a remote beach in Tanzania.
The Sun Princess meanwhile left after nightfall from Victoria and continued on her journey, which brought her to the Seychelles from Malaysia with final destination being the Caribbean.
EUROPE FLIGHTS MIGHT BE AFFECTED BY NEW ICELANDIC ASH CLOUD
Twice in as many years have warnings been sounded to airlines flying to and from European airport, or across European airspace, that the fresh outbreak of the notorious Icelandic volcano might bring with it resh misery, flight delays and cancellations.
Travellers across Eastern Africa have been told by travel agents and airlines, presently as a precaution, to be aware of the situation which remains fluid and may result in sudden closure of destination airports in Europe, causing flights to be diverted or not leaving in the first place.
Kenya Airways is said to be monitoring the developments closely and are in touch with their partner airlines KLM / Air France on a constant basis to get the latest updates but are also consulting frequently with European aviation authorities which are the ones actually able to close airspaces at an instant’s notice.
Initial feedback from sources in Brussels pointed out that the current situation might not have to involve large scale closures of the designated airways over Europe, giving hope to travelers to and from Eastern Africa that they might be spared the at times huge delays and costly return journeys witnessed last year.
All intending travelers are reminded to stay in touch with their travel agents and their airlines to remain appraised and informed about any changes before they leave for the airport.
TOURISM MINISTRY RESPONDS TO ‘TOURIST COMPLAINTS ON MARA ROAD’
The appalling state of the main road between Narok and the Masai Mara Game Reserve, the jewel in the crown of Kenyan game parks, has now reached parliament when questions were raised about the lack of repairs and upgrades on this key tourist access road to the park. Assistant Minister for Tourism Hon. Mbarire in fact had to concede that she was asked about this problem point blank when encountering people at recent tourism trade fairs she attended on behalf of government, a sign that the ‘bad news’ have spread and something needs to be done urgently to redress the situation.
The majority of visitors come to the park by road, and while flying is more expensive experienced travelers rather book themselves on one of the many daily scheduled flights from Wilson Airport, for instance on SafariLink, Fly 540 or Air Kenya, to avoid being shaken to bits while on the road.
Tour operators too are in near constant argument with government over the state of this but also other roads leading to parks, as potholes and ‘washing board’ surfaces on gravel roads take a huge and very costly toll on vehicle suspensions, shock absorbers and car bodies.
Information was also provided that work contracts had been issued but feedback from Nairobi from regular sources was clear that no machinery or workers columns were seen as yet on the dilapidated stretch of road to the Sekenani gate. Watch this space as fact finding continues on site in coming days.
UGANDA’S NEW CABINET TAKES SHAPE WITH APPOINTMENTS OF VP AND PM
President Museveni started the long awaited announcements of his new cabinet by appointing former Speaker of Parliament, the Hon. Edward Sekandi as his new Vice President after former Vice President Prof. Bukenya had tendered his resignation the day before.
Also announced was the Right Honourable Amama Mbabazi’s appointment as Prime Minister, replacing Prof. Apolo Nsibambi who had served several terms had expressed his desire to retire from active politics. Mbabazi is a party heavyweight and Secretary General of the NRM, and he beat former Vice President Prof. Bukenya in the last party elections for the position when he dealt him a humiliating blow, relegating him to third in a three way contest. Refusing advice to let go of the elective party contest weakened Prof. Bukenya’s position within the NRM and pundits took it for granted that he would not return to the VP’s position after the general elections.
Parliament will today discuss and vote on these two crucial appointments, while President Museveni’s choices for cabinet ministers and ministers of state will require full vetting by a parliamentary committee before the house votes on accepting or rejecting the individual appointees, something which has happened in the past. The tourism fraternity is particularly keen to see if indeed, as has been suggested, a new stand alone Ministry of Tourism is being created again and equally important, that a progressive and enlightened minister and minister of state will take charge to add new impetus to the portfolio which has gone asleep only to wake up for scandalous statements and irresponsible decisions then overturned in the courts of law.
The opposition also is seeking a new Leader of the Opposition as Prof. Latigo failed to make it back to parliament when he lost his bid for re-election during the February 18th general election.
With peace fully restored now in the streets of Kampala, nation building is now resuming and when the new cabinet is in place and sworn in it will all be back to normal in Uganda – The Pearl of Africa.