KENYA – Qatar Airways is set to increase its flights between Mombasa and Doha in December, five times a week, up from four, stepping up competition for struggling national carrier Kenya Airways.

The Middle East carrier, which operates three daily flights to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, said they would be flying to Mombasa five times a week, up from four. The additional flight will run from December 20 to March 27.

“The increase in frequency will allow passengers to enjoy the wonders that this coastal city has to offer, and locals will have more opportunities to enjoy Qatar Airways’ extensive global network of more than 160 destinations,” said group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker in a statement yesterday.

The airline would deploy Airbus A320 on the Mombasa route for the additional flight. The aircraft has 12 business class seats and 120 seats in economy class. The additional flight on Fridays will depart Doha at 02:30hrs to arrive in Mombasa at 08:40hrs and leave Mombasa at 16:50hrs to arrive in Doha at 23:05hrs.

“This increase allows for further growth, and strengthens the bonds between the State of Qatar and Kenya,” said Mr Al Baker.

Qatar Airways first started flying to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi in November 2005 and Mombasa in 2018.

Mombasa County Government officials and dignitaries joined in the short but highly significant ceremony to mark the start of the direct flight.

Through his twitter account, Mombasa Trade, Tourism and Investment executive Fawz Rashid said the partnership is meant to develop marketing campaigns that will increase and sustain passenger numbers in the carrier.

He welcomed partnerships that will expand complementary transport links and connectivity.

“We should all work closely together to expand complementary transport links and connectivity. This will make destination Mombasa and our region more attractive as both a tourist and investment destination.” He tweeted

The Tourism and Investment executive celebrated Kenya and specifically Mombasa tourism sector that has been experiencing great success.

“Currently we are receiving a total of nine charter flights every week proving the confidence that tour operators have on our destination.”’ He said.

The State-owned airline joins international carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and RwandAir, which currently fly directly into the coastal city.

Mombasa is a known global tourism destination due to its people rich mix of cultures that inspire an array of events.