Safarilink steps up competition on Kitale route with launch of daily flights

A section of Wilson Airport where the new flights will originate from. PHOTO | FILE

Safarilink has launched daily flights to Kitale, stepping up competition for passengers flying to the North Rift region.

The airline, which predominantly plies tourist destination routes, said the new flights will originate from Wilson Airport on a Beech1900 aircraft which carries a maximum of 19 passengers.

Carriers such as Jambojet, Fly540, Fly-SAX and Skyward Express have in recent years boosted their operations in the North Rift, and Safarilink’s entry is set to increase competition for passengers.

“Introduction of daily flights to Kitale will open up the Western Kenya and Northern Rift Valley region to business opportunities as well as encourage more tourist activities in Trans Nzoia County,” said John Buckley, Safarilink’s managing director.

“This flight will contribute significantly towards spurring economic development and easing movement in Trans Nzoia County.” Safarilink flies to major tourist destinations of Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo West, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Lewa Downs, Samburu, Lamu, Kilimanjaro, Lodwar, Loisaba and Migori.

It also provides charter flight services across the East African region. Fly540 and Fly-SAX fly directly to Kitale from Wilson Airport and Safarilink’s entry is set to offer competition for customers flying in and out of the town known for its food production.

The airline’s new route will provide competition for the likes of Jambojet which late last year increased daily flights to Eldoret from 13 to 20 amid “growing demand.”

Eldoret, which is about 70 kilometres from Kitale, is also served by Fly540 which also increased its flights to the town early last year.

Skyward Express started flying to Eldoret in August 2015, adding to its other routes of Wajir, Mandera, Lodwar and Kisumu and Mombasa which were added later on.

Trans Nzoia County governor Patrick Khaemba said the increased number of airlines flying to the North Rift will help raise investors’ interest in the region.

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