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Dutch charter airline resumes Kenya flights

NAIROBI – A Dutch-based charter airline is set to resume operations to Mombasa in November, three years after it suspended the service following an upsurge of insecurity in the country.

TUI Netherlands says it will book its Kenya-bound customers on three weekly KLM flights in a partnership focusing on tourists taking package trips.

These flights will, however, make a brief stop at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi where the passengers on charter tickets will board a Kenya Airways (KLM’s partner) plane.

TUI stopped chartering tourists to Kenya in May 2014 after the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth officer warned against non-essential travel to Mombasa, Garissa and Eastleigh.

“The market for package trips is one segment where there are plenty of opportunities, particularly in view of the many new destinations KLM has added to its network in recent years,” Harm Kreulen, director KLM Netherlands, said in a statement.

TUI, which is based in Netherlands’ main airport Schipol International, has cut a niche for itself in the airline industry by organising package trips that handle clients flight bookings, transfers and hotel bookings.

In Kenya, the charter airline arranges trips for customers to visit various top destinations including the coastal towns of Mombasa and Diani as well as the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Kenya’s tourism industry has suffered a huge setback in the past four years following terror attacks that triggered damaging travel warnings by governments of the key source countries.

The government has resorted to signing charter deals with various airlines, offering them, as well as travel agents and tour operators, various incentives in a bid to woo back tourists.

The resumption of flights by TUI will therefore be a much-needed boost to the industry.

“By combining our strengths, we will generate further growth, with new destinations and more passenger capacity,” Arjan Kers, TUI Netherlands’ general manager, said in a statement.

“This means we can offer our travellers a more varied range of holiday options.”

Source: Business Daily Africa

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