The just concluded bi-annual Dubai Air Show brought interesting information to light, over and above the mega deals struck by Qatar Airways and Emirates and a number of other airlines too of course when it was learned that QR has set its eyes set on three more East African destinations.
Sometime in early 2012 will flights be launched to Mombasa and the Spice Island of Zanzibar, news already broken recently here when the Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed this in response to a question during his press conference.
What is intriguing though is the plan to fly to Kigali too, especially in the light of the expressed intent of a senior Qatar Airways executive present at the Uganda launch earlier this month, those flights to Kigali should route via Entebbe, and with traffic rights between the two cities. It is understood that Qatar would seek to launch such flights ahead of the April launch by Turkish Airlines between Istanbul and Kigali, and the race is clearly on to get into position, as the early bird catches the worms.
While in Kigali over the coming days an effort will be made to ascertain RwandAirs stand on such plans but it is understood that the Ugandan Civil Aviation authority is not fundamentally opposed to granting Qatar Airways such traffic rights, although there may well be objections from Ugandan air operators.
Whichever way this pans out, it is positive to see that a 5star airline like Qatar Airways is aiming to penetrate the East African market comprehensively, offering options for both inbound and outbound travellers from as far as Zanzibar, Mombasa and Kigali, besides their current destinations Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Entebbe.
Compiled by Jackie