Uganda Airlines plans to increase in flights to Mombasa, describing the route as one of the most lucrative in its operations.
Speaking in Mombasa on Saturday where the airline sponsored a golf tournament the airline’s country manager Peggy Macharia said the rapid growth can be attributed to increased trade between the two countries.
“We have seen a lot of growth in Mombasa post-Covid hence the need to shout about it. We have business traffic from Uganda to the Mombasa port and Kenyans going to Uganda as a tourism destination,” Macharia said.
The airline flies into Mombasa from Entebbe, Uganda thrice a week, using CRJ-900 jets whose capacity is 76 passengers. Each flight has an average 80 percent full.
“Many clients come to Mombasa port for business. And that is why we are looking to increase frequency to Mombasa as a destination,” Macharia said.
From Entebbe the airline flies into 11 African countries including Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, and South Africa.
They are looking to start flying into Nigeria within the next three months.
Market development representative of the Uganda Tourism Board in the Africa source market, Anthony Ochieng, said Kenya is the number one source market for Uganda.
Last year, close to 400,000 Kenyans visited Uganda either as tourists, business travellers or due to cultural or family ties.
Ochieng said with the encouraging numbers, the airline might open other routes into the Coastal region with flights to Malindi, Ukunda, and Lamu.
“In the near future we will be thinking of other routes to the Coastal parts of Kenya but currently we are concentrating on increasing the load Entebbe-Mombasa and Mombasa-Entebbe,” Ochieng said.
According to Ochieng, Uganda’s tourism sector is steadily improving with United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) statistics suggesting full recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic might be achieved in 2025.
“There is a gradual growth if you look at the tourism statistics from the East Africa Community states,” Ochieng said.
Majority of Ugandans fly into Mombasa and by extension, Diani, for weddings, parties and other social activities, apart from business, he said
“We are trying very hard to promote intra-tourism within Africa. There is vigour in wildlife products marketing, cultural tourism marketing and MICE.