WORLD ROUTES: flydubai Expands East African Route Map

United Arab Emirates (UAE) low-cost carrier flydubai revealed further plans during World Routes to expand its route network across Africa. Following its announcement in late August that it would expand in East Africa with routes to Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda launching this week, flydubai has now confirmed expansion into Tanzania with flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro starting in October 2014.

“With the addition of these three new destinations in Tanzania we’ve doubled our network in North and East Africa this year, strengthening our commitment to serving previously underserved markets,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer, flydubai. Within Africa, flydubai already operates flights to Alexandria in Egypt, Khartoum and Port Sudan in Sudan, Juba in South Sudan, Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa as well as Djibouti’s capital Djibouti.

The carrier’s entry into Tanzania is no real surprise as the country is a regional hub for tourism in East Africa and in 2013 the country welcomed over one million tourists. According to the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), this figure looks set with to double with two million tourists forecast by 2017. Emirates Airline already offers flights on the Dubai – Dar es Salaam route, while Qatar Airways links the capital city to Doha and Oman Air flies between Zanzibar and Muscat.

Tanzania is a country renowned for its natural beauty and its extraordinary wildlife. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s economic hub and offers a picturesque seaport and a wealth of cultural and historic attractions. Known as the Spice Island, Zanzibar is encapsulated by white sandy beaches and is bursting with culture, history and endemic wildlife, while the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro welcome tourists for hiking and skiing all year round.

“Our ever-expanding network supports Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020 that aims to attract 20 million visitors to the Emirate by 2020. By offering reliable, affordable and convenient travel services from Tanzania, we provide passengers with the opportunity to travel to Dubai and connect onwards to more than 200 worldwide destinations through Dubai International Airport,” added Sudhir Sreedharan, senior vice president commercial (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa), flydubai.

The new Dar es Salaam route will operate daily between Dubai International and Julius Nyerere International Airport from October 16, 2014 with two flights per week connecting on to Kilimanjaro from October 17, 2014 and two flights per week connecting on to Zanzibar from October 19, 2014.

The HUB was fortunate to speak to Mattijs Smith, managing director of Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO) just after flydubai confirmed its intention to expand into Tanzania. KADCO is the operator of Kilimanjaro International Airport, the gateway to Africa’s wildlife heritage, and strategically situated within a close proximity of renowned tourist hot spots such as Mount Kilimanjaro, The Serengeti National park as well as the Ngorongoro conservation area which have all been designated as the winners among the seven natural wonders of Africa in 2013.

“The service between Kilimanjaro International Airport and Dubai is a valuable contribution to our network”, he told The HUB. “With the flydubai flight Kilimanjaro International Airport will be able to serve the new growing trader traffic market in an addition to the traditional tourist segment”.

In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at passenger flows between Tanzania and Dubai and onward via the existing service of Emirates Airline. The UAE carrier launched direct operations into the East African country in March 2006 having previously served the market via Nairobi and currently operates a daily service to Dar es Salaam, increasing to double daily from January 2015. Over the past ten years the market has grown 162.4 per cent and despite a slip in demand in 2011, traffic recovered in 2012 and reached record levels in 2013.

The data shows that 26.4 per cent of the estimated 182,000 passengers on the Emirates route in 2013 flew point-to-point between Tanzania and the UAE, with the remaining 73.5 per cent connecting on to one of 138 different countries. The largest connecting passenger flows were to India, the UK, China, the US and Australia.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…