East African airline giant Kenya Airways (KQ) plans to improve connectivity from Botswana to global destinations in Asia, including Bangkok, Dubai, Bombay and Hong Kong. This was revealed by KQ Country Manager Juliet Zintambila at award ceremony for local travel agencies in Gaborone on Thursday. She said KQ is also actively exploring the possibility of having daily flights into and out of Botswana.
KQ has experienced success since opening its doors in Botswana in 2009. The Gaborone branch was the 47th global destination for KQ and the 38th in Africa. The airliner has a standing code sharing deal with Air Botswana (AB), through which AB sells seats on KQ direct flights between Nairobi and Gaborone. The code share was meant to encourage tourist traffic and intra-Africa business travel and establish the new Sir Seretse Khama International Airport as an attractive alternative to OR Tambo in the region. The Nairobi route also propped-up Jomo Kenyatta International as an alternative hub into Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Kenya Airways would also offer cargo space on the belly capacity of these flights.
At the time KQ had an aggressive plan to conquer Africa, with serious ambitions to fly to every African capital city by 2013.
“At the heart of our corporate strategy is the ambition to link all major African cities and also to connect Africa to the world. Our five weekly flights to Gaborone are now well established,” said Ms Zintambila on Thursday.
KQ’s scramble for Africa has paid dividends. The increase in frequency of flights was meant to meet increasing demand for travel between Gaborone and Nairobi. While in the past KQ had between 3000 to 5000 customers the introduction of the night flights was expected to boost revenue by 10-15 percent. The new routes would be serviced by the mid-range twin engine Embraer E190 Jets. Many are waiting in anticipation for KQ to introduce the recently launched Boeing Dreamliner in the Gaborone –Nairobi route as it can easily land and take off at SSKIA. Ms Zintambila said KQ is also actively expanding its route network to connect Africa to the world and the world to Africa.
“We have commenced flights from Nairobi to Abhu Dabi, Juba and Livingstone. We will soon be commencing flights to Abuja and Beijing,” she said.
With these new routes, KQ will be able to deploy flights from Jomo Kenyatta International to over 67 destinations, connecting to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The new routes will also contribute to the sustainable development of Africa by opening access to markets and increasing opportunities for business and leisure travel. Ms Zintambile attributed the airliner’s success to its partners, and thanked all the travel agents who have worked hard to sell KQ.
“We are truly grateful for your hard work and support and we value your continued partnership,” she said.
The KQ Asante Sana awards were won by Harvey World Travel, Vintage Travel and Luckysky Travel among others. Anand Kanaiya from Luckysky Travel, Marjorie Bosch from Travelwise and Gomolemo Pule from Nationwide Travel were chosen as among the best-selling agents. Luckysky Travel won the Platinum award in the top selling agency category, followed by Travelwise with Gold, Skylink with Silver, Vintage Travel with Bronze and Travel Star with Ivory. END