Flydubai has extended its reach to Mombasa, Kenya, initiating direct flights from Dubai—a move poised to significantly bolster the recovery of the country’s tourism industry.
This strategy not only strengthens the presence of the United Arab Emirates-based airline but also introduces a new dynamic to Kenya’s aviation sector, especially with Kenya Airways (KQ) already plying the same route. KQ operates between nine and twelve flights daily between Nairobi and Mombasa.
Operating a Boeing 737 aircraft, Flydubai will ferry passengers four times a week, improving accessibility to Moi International Airport from Terminal Three at Dubai International Airport (DXB).
With flights scheduled for Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the Emirati government-owned airline’s venture into Mombasa marks a significant chapter in Kenya’s air travel industry, directly influencing the growth of tourism on the Kenyan coast.
Abel Gogo, Mombasa International Airport Manager, stated, “With this expansion, we are going to witness increased movement of business people and tourists into Mombasa.”
“Our direct flights to Mombasa and our growing operations in Africa will further support free flows of trade and tourism between the UAE and the East African markets,” said Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen acknowledged that Flydubai’s entry is monumental for Kenya’s aviation sector and the people of the Coast region.
“It will increase tourist arrivals to Mombasa from across Flydubai’s networks, leading to the growth of the hospitality and tourism sector, creation of jobs directly and indirectly, and the revitalization of the economies of the City of Mombasa and the region at large.”
Key tourism markets
Post the Covid-19 pandemic, Kenya’s coast has been increasingly attracting direct flights from key tourism markets, bolstering one of the region’s sources of revenue and, therefore, employment and investment opportunities.
Some of the cities and countries where airlines are operating direct flights to Mombasa International Airport include Prague, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Netherlands, as well as Italy. The coastal airport also serves roughly 14 flights every week from Ethiopian Airlines.
Another leading airline with direct services to Mombasa is Germany’s Lufthansa with five flights per week. Additionally, local budget carriers Jambo Jet, Safari Link, and Skywards operate tens of flights every day to Mombasa, offering travelers a variety of transport options.
Kenya’s tourism industry witnessed a surge in earnings, totaling Kes152.6 billion in the first six months of June 2023. This was an increase from the Kes116.2 billion reported during the corresponding period in 2022, according to data from the Kenya Tourism Board.
The revenue boost was in step with a significant rise in tourist visits, marking a 32 percent increase from 642,861 to 847,810 during the same timeframe in 2022.