Emirates plans 17 flights a week between Dubai and Nairobi

The Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has notified the Kenyan aviation authorities of its plans to introduce three new weekly flights between Dubai and Nairobi. The airline already operates a daily evening and day flight to Nairobi, and the new flights would raise schedules to 17 per week. At the same time, plans to introduce Dubai-Mombasa flights have been suspended.

The new flights make Emirates the leading foreign operator to Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and marks the continued dominance of the airline from Kenya to West Asian countries. Kenya Airways operates one daily flight to Dubai.

Emirates general manager for East Africa Ali Al Shamsi, said the airline was yet to decide whether to operate the new flights directly or to mount a joint operation through Kampala and Dar e Salaam.

Aviation officials at the ministry of transport and Kenya civil aviation authority say the current bilateral air service agreement between Dubai and Kenya allows for an unlimited number of frequencies between Nairobi and Dubai. Emirates have been flying to Kenya for the last 12 years.

Uganda and Tanzania each have a daily direct service from Dubai, up from four flights a week four years ago. In October 2004, the airline started a once weekly freighter service from Nairobi to Amsterdam via Dubai, using a Boeing 747-400F offering 110 tonnes of cargo capacity. Emirates SkyCargo's first African freighter route, it was increased to twice weekly because of demand.

Kenya is the world's leading horticulture producer, particularly for cut flowers, and Emirates believes that the load factors will continue to grow over time as the potential of East African economies maintain an upswing.