QATAR AIRWAYS GOES DOUBLE DAILY TO JAPAN
A media release received overnight has confirmed that Qatar Airways will commence a second daily flight to Japans capital Tokyo, adding to the current daily service routing via Osaka at present.
The new service will commence on 28th of October but the airline gave early notice to the markets in East Africa to allow for advance sales.
Qatar Airways in less than 6 weeks will add Kilimanjaro, via Nairobi as the 5th destination in East Africa before adding Mombasa, via Dar es Salaam a month later. Zanzibar, also via Dar es Salaam will then follow as the airlines 7th destination in East Africa probably by November, no firm date has been announced as yet, making it the one foreign airline to cover all airports of significance and not just the capitals as others do.
All routes to East Africa are served with Airbus A320 equipment offering both business and economy class while the route to Tokyo, and other key international destinations are served with B777 and A 330 equipment, offering greater comfort through reduced seat numbers in economy the B777 only as a 3-3-3 configuration unlike most competitors using a 3-4-3 configuration while in business class state of the art flat bed seats are available to travelers on the worlds 5 star airline. Watch this space for breaking and regular news updates on aviation developments from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.
Archive for June 15th, 2012
QATAR AIRWAYS GOES DOUBLE DAILY TO JAPAN
With summer and scorching temperatures now arriving back in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries, Emirates is simultaneously launching their annual Summer Sale in the East African markets.
Under the offer, up to two children under age 12, traveling with an accompanying adult in economy class, are eligible to receive complimentary accommodation (minimum three night stay), meals in participating hotels, plus airfare discounted 50% off the adult fare. The promotion will allow travelers of any age to create unique experiences across Dubai – from beach to malls, from the desert to the pinnacle of the worlds tallest building.
The airline partnered with Dubai Commerce and Tourism Marketing and the Dubai Mall, amongst others, to create value for travelers opting to fly via Dubai and taking advantage of the stop over option, shopping either enroute to or from their final destination and getting some extraordinary value for money. Dubai has developed into a destination for all seasons and Emirates has chosen its partners, DTCM, Dubai Mall and the many participating hotels, to showcase the best the city has to offer. Emirates knows that finding a holiday destination to meet the needs of a diverse group, be it families with children or a group of friends, is challenging and has thus created this offer to make travel a little easier said Emirates Regional Manager for East Africa Essa Sulaiman Ahmad in Nairobi as the packages were launched in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya at once. Emirates is known for its superior service in the air and with Do More in Dubai brings our spirit of hospitality and adventure to our passengers on while on the ground. Emirates invites families with children, as well as those still young at heart, to come and experience everything our hometown has to offer this summer. Do More in Dubai cover all a travellers needs: flights, transfers, accommodation, shopping, activities and tours – making Dubai a unique destination without breaking the bank he then added, sentiments echoed by the respective country sales managers in Dar es Salaam and Kampala. Dubai Mall is the worlds largest shopping and entertainment destination and is obviously any travellers ultimate destination for great shopping and entertainment in the city. We have therefore increased our baggage allowance by 10kg per adult for up to two adults traveling with children; making space for shopping purchases and family souvenirs of Dubai. The offer also provides the Dubai Mall discount voucher book which provides one-of-a-kind experiences for those still young at heart such as golfing at the Els Club in Dubailand and Arabian Ranches Golf Club, dinner along the Creek on a Bateau Dubai Dinner Cruise Mr. Ahmad then concluded his presentation. It was also learned that additionally, the offer includes entrance deals to some major attractions in Dubai such as the Wild Wadi Water Park; Aquaventure & Lost Chambers at Atlantis, iFLYDubai; Soccer Circus & Cite’ des Enfants at Playnation – Mirdif City Centre; and the Dubai Dolphinarium at Creek Golf Club.
The offer covers Meet & Assist service at the Dubai airport, airport transfers, and a free Dubai City Tour & Dhow Cruise with dinner for up to two children with accompanying paying adults
Do More in Dubai packages and information can be found online at www.emirates.com, through Emirates Holidays, Emirates offices and travel agents. What else is there left to say but GO FLY.
KENYA AIRWYAS FULL YEAR PROFIT DROPS AMID RISING OPERATING COSTS
Kenya Airway has now released the full financial year results for 2011/12 and while the upside is continued profitability, and a sharp rise in revenues and passengers carried, the downside is a sharply reduced profit compared with the 2010/11 financial year.
This trend translates to reduced earnings per share from 7.65 KShs the previous year to only 3.58 in the just concluded year, attributed to a rise in fuel cost and labour cost, the latter sustained after having to prevent a strike threat by cabin crew and other staff over terms and conditions, leaving the profit columns drained of substance..
Passengers carried rose to about 3.6 million compared to only 3.1 million a year earlier, which speaks for the impact of a sustained rollout of new routes and added frequencies in core markets and earnings catapulted by over 26 percent to 107.9 billion KShs. A higher cabin load-factor of 71.7 percent was the result of the added numbers up from last years 69.2. However profits reduced from about 3.5 billion KShs to only 1.66 billion KShs for the 2011/12 year, showing just how great an impact a softening European market and the rise in fuel cost it meant for the airlines profitability.
Also announced was the date of the Annual General Meeting of shareholders, due for the 27th September 2012 at a venue to be announced but likely once again at the Bomas of Kenya to cater for the presence of as many shareholders as possible. Full details of the financial statement and comments made by board and management are available via www.kenya-airways.com
EAST AFRICA TOURISM PLATFORM LAUNCHES IN RWANDA
Following the launch at the EAC headquarters in Arusha last week the East African Tourism Platform has now also launched in Rwanda, coinciding with the annual Kwita Izina week, arguably the most important week on the calendar of event of the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department.
Hence, the who is who not just from Rwanda but from the wider region were in Kigali ahead of the formal naming ceremony of the young born gorillas, and attended the EATP launch here.
Present from EATP was the platforms chairman Richard Rugimbana, Executive Secretary of the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, Manzi Kayihura as vice chairman and representative of Rwandas private sector, besides Kenyas country representative Agatha Juma, Chief Executive of the Kenya Tourism Federation and the Burundian country representative of EATP Edouard Bagumako. Notably did from Uganda attend the chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators as country representative, a sign that the embattled UTA president was clearly not seen as a true representative of Ugandas private sector see last weeks report on the broadside fired upon the UTA leadership by USAGA chair Herbert Byaruhanga who demanded immediate changes in the UTA set up to once again make it an inclusive and not selective industry apex body and indeed Boniface Byamukama did Uganda proud the way he represented the Pearl of Africa.
TradeMark East Africa was represented by Mark Priestley, Country Director for Rwanda, who explained the measures of support for EATP put into place to run a centrally based secretariat which can be used to both advance the regional integration and coming together of the national tourism sectors apex bodies, where functional, as well as immediately embarking on the key lobbying function with the East African Community and member government to advance the agenda of the tourism private sector. The main functions of EATP were described as:
- Reduce obstacles to intra and inter regional tourism
- Promote a regional tourism marketing approach
- Encourage continued human resource development and skills transfer
- Promote harmonized standards and codes of conduct for tourism facilities and services
- Facilitate access to affordable finance and risk management services
- Provide a platform for the exchange of data, information and networking opportunities
Rwanda has thrown her full support behind the EATP in order to promote increased dialogue between public and private sectors to take joint responsibility to develop the tourism industry regionwide and Ms. Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, said: we are convinced here in Rwanda that the East African Tourism Platform is a good thing, is very much needed to promote dialogue and we fully support it from our side here in Rwanda before the Minister for the East African Community in the Rwanda government then declared EATP formally launched. Mr. EdwinSabuhoro, Chairman of Rwandas Tourism Chamber, part of the countrys Private Sector Federation, also expressed his optimism that a wider private sector cooperation in the tourism industry across the region would benefit the overall visibility and effectiveness of the national apex bodies when dealing with their respective governments.
Present from the secretariat was the programme coordinator Ms. Waturi Matu, who reiterated that present and future developments of EATP can be accessed and followed via Twitter on @TourismEA on Facebook via www.facebook.com/EastAfricaTourismPlatform or via their website www.ea-tourism-platform.org
MARRIOTT KIGALI ON COURSE FOR OPENING IN MID 2013
The Marriott Kigali Hotel, now under construction in the heart of Rwandas capital city with an adjoining conference centre, is reportedly on course for an opening in 12 months time, as ascertained from a team of the hotel group who are in Kigali at the moment. It is understood that a first batch of recruits has been identified and is being deployed soon in the Marriott properties in the Gulf region for training and that additional recruitment will progress as the opening comes nearer. This is aimed towards having a backbone of fully trained staff, conversant with hotel groups hospitality philosophy and service delivery and to provide quality services from day one of operations.
Marriott will be the first big league managed luxury hotel in Kigali when it opens its doors and comes hot on the heels of the market entry in East Africa by Hyatt, which took over a hotel last year in Dar es Salaam under a management contract, while Kempinski earlier this week made their formal announcement of the opening of their Kenyan properties, the Kempinski Villa Rosa in Nairobi and a luxury tented safari camp on a conservancy adjoining the world famous Masai Mara.
The arrival of global big league hotel operators like Kempinski, Marriott and Hyatt is expected to inject a new round of competition into the top level market in Eastern Africas main cities and will probably spur further investments by existing hotels rather than an outright price war, from which no one, not newcomers nor existing hotels would benefit in the least. In fact, one of Nairobis market leaders, the Nairobi Serena Hotel, is due to commence construction of a new wing with larger and more luxuriously appointed rooms before embarking on a complete rebuilding of the existing hotel, in order to maintain their position as market leaders and compete more effectively with the likes of Kempinski on both product and service delivery.
In Kampala in the meantime is construction ongoing of what is set to become the Kampala InterContinental Hotel while a group of senior Hilton executives was in Kampala three weeks ago to assess what progress has been made on the so called Hilton Kampala. This hotel has been under construction, on and off, for the past 5 years, to the embarrassment of the proposed management company which upon realizing just how bad a PR this was generating had taken the project off their website and which has been turning the owners into a national laughing stock over their full mouthed statements in the past, none of which had ever come into reality.
Be that as it may, Eastern Africa, more so since the discovery of substantial oil and gas deposits, seems to have come back into focus of the global big league hospitality businesses, which are now queuing up to join their existing colleagues from Hilton and InterContinental which are present in Kenya and Starwoods Sheraton, present in Uganda and Ethiopia already for many years. Exciting times ahead for sure, so watch this space for regular updates from the hospitality industry in Eastern Africa.
MV PEARL TAKES TO THE LAKE AT LAST
The MV Pearl, owned and operated by Kalangala Infrastructure Services, has now reportedly been granted a full license to operate between the mainland at Bukakata near Masaka and Luku on Bugala Island, the main island of the Ssese group in Lake Victoria and site of the Kalangala district administration.
The new ferry will be bringing relief to the islands who in the past had to rely on the often patchy and unreliable services of MV Bukakata. As was the case in the past, the services of the ferry are free of charge, subsidized by government as part of brining infrastructural development to the islands.
It is understood from the owners of the ferry, which can sit up to 160 passengers with a further 40 standing and as many as 20 cars, that a second ferry, the MV Ssese is under construction and due to be commissioned within 10 months, then providing both back up and boosting capacity on the route.
Allegations that an exclusive underhand deal was struck were dismissed by both government and the ferry owners and operators, as it was pointed out in a press release to this correspondent that the route was non-exclusive an open to additional operators, subject to meeting marine licensing requirements and on proof of relevant insurance covers.
The new ferry service will now commence a scheduled operation, ending the often long waits when in the past vehicles and passengers had to wait for long hours before the ferry would finally make an appearance.
KIS is reportedly also in the process of constructing a water distribution pipe network on Bugala as well as engaged in road upgrades but most important the setting up of a hybrid power station on the island, bringing relief from the notoriously unreliable powersupply from the mainland. These projects are understood to be undertaken in the format of a public private partnership between government and KIS.
Members of the tourism fraternity have welcomed the arrival of the new ferry but also expressed their desire that similar services from the Entebbe pier and the Port Bell harbour be increased too to facilitate the regular movement of tourists and locals to and from the islands under safe operating conditions. The Ssese island group on Lake Victoria is often seen as a yet to be tapped tourism resource and a number of smaller hotels have in recent years been opened where tourists, mainly backpackers, can stay and enjoy the forests and beaches of the main island Bugala and many others dotted around it in the lake. Happy sailings.