LOW SEASON ENDS AS SAFARILINK AND AIR KENYA COOPERATE AGAIN
The more recent ‘battle for Ukunda’, when Air Kenya literally ambushed SafariLink with the introduction of a second flight, ditching the erstwhile cooperation of the two domestic ‘safari airlines’ on the route, is apparently a thing of the past now. Right in time for the end of the low tourist season have the two airlines, both of which operate out of Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, announced that they will again share the route equally with SafariLink operating the afternoon service while Air Kenya takes the morning departures.
Both airlines have pointed out that arrivals and departures link in with other of their scheduled flights which can connect their passengers, via a stop at Wilson Airport, from either the coast to the parks or from the parks straight to the fabulous Indian Ocean beaches South of Mombasa.
SafariLink has also re-started, after the low season break, their flight extension from the Masai Mara to an airfield right at the Tanzanian border in Migori, linked to their late morning flight from Nairobi to Kenya’s most popular game reserve. Travelers using this service can cross into Tanzania at the Isebenia border post, take a short transfer to the nearby Tarime airstrip and can from there fly to their Serengeti safari camps or beyond. However, while applauding this ‘shortening’ of getting into Tanzania by several hours and with much less hassle than flying via Wilson into Kilimanjaro, the fact remains that this is a ludicrous situation at best. While our politicians are falling all over each other talking air about the integration of the East African Community – only last week were pompous celebrations held to celebrate the 10th anniversary, travelers continue to be inconvenienced, at the expense of spreading revenue into the entire region for that matter, by the need for added Visas and inexplicable non tariff barrier restrictions on border crossing points and air access – for airlines from within the EAC no less – under the pretext of vague and obscure reasons none of which are true.
As the Kampala traders recently said during a meeting about the benefits of the EAC members – DUMP YOUR NON TARIFF BARRIERS AND DUMP YOUR PROTECTION!
High time someone listens and makes the policy and regulatory frameworks conducive to bringing hundreds of thousands of more tourists into East Africa.