LOW KEY CEREMONY MARKS ARRIVAL OF YET ANOTHER EMBRAER E190 IN NAIROBI
Last Saturday did yet another Embraer E190 aircraft arrive in Nairobi at the Kenya Airways base in Embakasi, bringing the total number of this aircraft type to now four. One more delivery from an original order of 5 E190 placed in 2010 is due to be effected in a few weeks before a second order of 10 such jets commences deliveries in 2012. Kenya Airways also holds options for a further 16 jets from Brazils Embraer although the specific type of those aircraft has yet to be decided when the order, as is expected, is being firmed up.
The new aircraft is registered with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority as 5 Yankee Kilo Yankee Sierra or 5Y-KYS and will shortly be deployed on regional routes. The two class configuration ensures that passengers will receive the usual inflight standards and comfort with 2×2 abreast in the 84 seater economy class and 2×2 abreast in the 12 seater business class sections which offers wider seats, albeit not comparable with the superb recliners in the airlines B737 fleet. All seats have individual screens to follow the safety announcements and enjoy inflight entertainment, an investment thought to pay off through passenger loyalty. Watch this space for regular aviation updates from airlines across Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
Archive for October 3rd, 2011
LOW KEY CEREMONY MARKS ARRIVAL OF YET ANOTHER EMBRAER E190 IN NAIROBI
NEW VISION GETS NEW WEBSITE LAYOUT
Ugandas leading daily newspaper, currently undergoing a redesign and showing new ooompf has today also commissioned its new public website layout, still available via www.newvision.co.ug
The entry portal is now showing on one page the key elements of the daily news and gives easy click access to front page headline news, national news, business news, sports, lifestyle and other regional and international events of interest to Ugandan readers.
This development follows hot on the heels of a similar overhaul by main rival The Monitor, accessible via www.monitor.co.ug signaling a continued battle over readership, subscribers and advertising revenues in an increasingly competitive business environment.
The New Vision is a publicly quoted company which shares are traded on the Uganda Securities Exchange and it has turned out to be one of the most profitable media companies in Uganda if not Eastern Africa. For all the news from Uganda, you now know where to go to find them on a daily basis.
DAR ES SALAAM HOLIDAY INN COMMISSIONS HELIPAD
Information received from Dar es Salaam has confirmed that the Holiday Inn has launched a helicopter service from the international airport to the hotel, cutting commuting time to around 6 minutes for guests opting to pay 140 US Dollars rather than being stuck in traffic. The service will be operated by Everett aviation services, which has been long established in Kenya and also has a branch in Uganda.
It could not be ascertained if the price for a ticket quoted was tied to any minimum numbers of passengers on any given flight or if the operator will carry the risk of occupancy.
Traffic in Dar es Salaam, but also in Nairobi and between Entebbe and the main hotels in Kampala is often a nightmare and commuting times from hotels in the respective CBDs has become such an issue that entrepreneurs have found a market niche to provide helicopter services for airport transfers. Happy Landings!
TRAVEL EMBARGO NOW EXTENDS 150 KM FROM SOMALI BORDER
Embassies and High Commissions in Nairobi were swift to react to the second abduction of a foreign national from the sun drenched beaches of Kenyas Indian Ocean shores last weekend and introducing an all but essential personnel travel ban for their own staff and citizens to the area between the Somali border, extending now to a staggering 150 kilometres. This covers the entire coastline well beyond Lamu but has for the moment as it was put to this correspondent not gone as far as Malindi according to a diplomatic source in Nairobi. Speaking on condition of anonymity, extending it even to the mission the source is attached to, the following was said: After the first abduction all missions were monitoring the reaction by the Kenyan security forces very closely. This second incident now shows that not enough has been done to secure visitor safety along this more remote part of Kenya. It is appreciated that Lamu is a major tourism attraction for foreign visitors but our loyalty and concern and duty is towards our nationals, which is the same with every other High Commission or Embassy also. The scale of 150 kilometres is valid for now but under constant review, so that is can be adjusted if necessary.
Tourism stakeholders from Kenya, including the airlines flying regular services from Nairobi and Mombasa / Malindi to Lamu, have expressed concern over the blanket exclusions zone as one put it in an overnight communication, citing a potentially crippling development for hotels and resorts, in Lamu and the area now under travel embargo. There are some smaller resorts north of Malindi which are popular, we were having some tourism in the Tana river delta and of course resorts in Lamu itself. Overseas tour operators will follow such travel embargoes because they fear to be held liable in case something else happens. Occupancies in such resorts and hotels will fall and it could ruin them financially. Scheduled flights might also be affected. Right now the media are flocking in but when that is over will tourists fly from Nairobi to Lamu, or from Mombasa to Lamu? There is no appeal mechanism for us when foreign embassies declare such travel embargoes and the media hype right now seems to feed on fears and suppositions. Our government will have to come up with some very serious action now or the last quarter of 2011 could see a reverse of all our gains we have made this year. We have a navy and an airforce and an army which should secure our borders, keep our visitors and citizens safe, so let them step up said on regular contributing source from Mombasa while most others were uncharacteristically quiet and unwilling to comment.
Kenya is currently on track to reach record arrival figures and revenues from tourism and occupancies on flights and in hotels, resorts and safari lodges will be closely monitored in coming weeks to see if the trend holds or if these recent security incidents may have tipped the scale. Watch this space.
AIR UGANDA TO INTRODUCE NEW ROUTINGS AND ADDED OPTIONS
The seasonal flights in August and September between Entebbe, Mombasa and Zanzibar came to an end last weekend but will resume in December once more to cover the traditional holiday period ahead and over the Christmas and New Year season. Using the CRJ200 U7 has the right sized aircraft to serve the route, making the operation financially viable. The major change however is due to take effect from mid January 2012, when according to a reliable source within the airline the stop in Mombasa will on three days a week become part of the flights to Dar es Salaam which in line with an earlier report will soon be a truly daily departure, when the airline adds from November onwards the Saturday flight which currently is missing.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday will the service route from Entebbe via Mombasa on to Dar es Salaam, before returning nonstop to Entebbe again. Presently the airline has no traffic rights between MBA and DAR which in theory could be applied for under both EAC and COMESA aviation rules.
In contrast will Zanzibar be available for Air Uganda passengers through a cooperation with ZanAir, which will link the arrival and departure of U7 flights to Dar with the island, in the process offering a daily option as opposed to the three times a week Air Uganda used to offer during the tourist high seasons only. This change will widen the choices of travelers going on a holiday to the Spice Island as they are no longer restricted to three flights only as was the case in the past.
The changes will also serve to challenge other airlines in particular Fly 540, which has in the past been trying in Uganda to market their connections via Nairobi to the Kenyan coast and to Zanzibar but has been on the back foot since the sudden departure of their country manageress Jackie Arkle, who was generally perceived as Mama 540 in Uganda, losing market share to both Air Uganda and to regional giant Kenya Airways and putting their future on the Nairobi to Entebbe route into serious doubt. Watch this space for the most up to date information on aviation developments across Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.