Companies

KLM defers its direct flights to Mombasa to December

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A KLM plane landing at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands on April 30, 2014. PHOTO | AFP

Summary

  • Dutch national carrier KLM has deferred its direct flights to Moi International Airport in Mombasa, delaying its highly anticipated trips to the coastal city.
  • The delay has been occasioned by bureaucracy in getting the necessary flight permits from the Kenyan authorities.
  • The airline initially had planned to start its direct flights from the Amsterdam to the Kenyan coast this month, but it has now pushed this to early December.

Dutch national carrier KLM has deferred its direct flights to Moi International Airport in Mombasa, delaying its highly anticipated trips to the coastal city.

The delay has been occasioned by bureaucracy in getting the necessary flight permits from the Kenyan authorities.

The airline initially had planned to start its direct flights from the Amsterdam to the Kenyan coast this month, but it has now pushed this to early December.

“This winter will see the introduction of four entirely new destinations: Mombasa, Cancún, Port of Spain and Bridgetown. Scheduled service to Mombasa in Kenya is expected to commence in early December; KLM is currently in the process of obtaining the necessary flight permits from the Kenyan authorities,” said KLM.

This means the Royal Dutch national carrier will be forced to suspend its operation for more than a month depending if it will acquire necessary permits from the government.

The airline plans to operate two flights a week from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to Mombasa using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with a loop to Nairobi from Mombasa.

KLM will be joining a host of European carriers such as Eurowings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, currently flying from Frankfurt to Zanzibar via Mombasa.

KLM has resumed operating services to almost its entire pre-Covid network (one destination excepted). Intercontinental flights will be operating at around 75 percent of capacity this winter compared to winter 2019.

Coast tourism stakeholders termed the move a major blow.

The hoteliers were banking on the direct flights to revamp the ailing sector that suffered a slump due to the pandemic that further led to the closure of all hotels, sacking of workers, and the facilities left grappling with huge loans.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer Sam Ikwaye said the delays could cost the sector money for the peak season.

“Accessibility is fundamental for any destination to thrive. These plans that are now on ice would have accelerated recovery and guarantee tourism and hospitality investments as well as professionals some lifeline,” Mr Ikwaye said.