Qatar Airways is set to offer direct flights between Mombasa and Doha from next year as a move to keeping up with the stiff competition in Kenya.
The carrier, which already operates daily flights to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), says Mombasa is among the 12 new destinations it will launch in 2018.
According to Qatar’s Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker, the new destinations that the carrier has will be offering means that they will be in a good position of bringing their innovative and world class products to more of their travelers across the world.
The State-owned Qatar joins international carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and RwandAir which currently fly directly into the coastal city of Mombasa.
Unlike these carriers, Kenya Airways, as the airline is referred to by its international code, has to pass through its Nairobi hub before proceeding to Mombasa, making Qatar’s impending entry a competitive threat to its business model.
The Transport ministry last July also granted low-cost carrier flydubai the rights to begin daily flights between Dubai and Mombasa, further raising competitive pressure on Kenya Airways. The government stated that the only way the sector can fully recover, and attract more tourists, is through opening up the skies.