Dutch national carrier KLM will launch direct flights from the Amsterdam to the Kenyan coast in November, offering a sigh of relief to the tourism sector currently recovering from the effects of Covid -19.
The airline will operate two flights a week from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to Mombasa using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner starting November 2, with a loop to Nairobi from Mombasa.
KLM will be joining a host of European carrier such as Eurowings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, currently flying from Frankfurt to Zanzibar via Mombasa.
“The maiden flight will be on November 2, 2021,” said Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said yesterday.
“Netherlands is one of the most connected air travel country in the world-providing unparalleled access to European tourism markets. The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Kenya welcomes this move.”
Data from the Economic Survey 2021 shows that Kenya earned Sh91.7 billion last year from Sh163.6 billion in 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic hit one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange-earners.
Kenya suspended international and domestic flights and banned social gatherings in March last year after reporting the first case of the Covid-19 disease, halting operations in the tourism sector.
Suspension of international and domestic flights lasted four months to July, leading to a 1.15 million drop in the number of holidaymakers— the biggest drop based on the purpose of tourists’ visit.
The number of tourists visiting for business and those in transit, the other purposes for visits, also fell.
Tourists dropped by 1.45 million to 579, 600 last year due to the suspension of the flights, with holidaymakers dropping 89 percent to 134, 900.