South African budget carrier Airlink will in April start direct flights from Johannesburg to Nairobi stepping up competition for passengers on the route that is also served by the national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ).
The company, which began flights to Dar es Salaam in December 2020 and to Entebbe in July 2021, said the new daily flights will operate from the OR Tambo International Airport.
The airline refused to disclose the ticket cost but it is likely to be cheaper than what other carriers charge. Kenya Airways currently charge an estimated Sh180,400 on a return air ticket on the route.
“Airlink, Southern Africa's premier airline, is spreading its wings with a new daily Johannesburg –Nairobi service, which will see it become the first private sector airline to offer flights on the route from April 24, 2023,” Airlink CEO and managing director Rodger Foster said in a statement Thursday.
The carrier will deploy an Embraer E190 jetliner on the route which can carry up to 98 passengers.
“Airlink’s entry on the route supports last November’s agreement by Kenya and South Africa to eliminate trade barriers and strengthen commerce and economic ties by opening-up business and cooperation between the two major economies in key sectors and markets.
“It also follows South Africa’s removal of visa requirements for Kenyans visiting South Africa for up to 90 days (South Africans do not require visas to visit Kenya),” he said.