Tourist arrivals from Asia are set to increase, following the introduction of direct flights from Seoul, South Korea into the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) starting this Friday.
Korean Air will fly into Nairobi three times a week, becoming the first airline to operate direct flights from Northeast Asia to Nairobi, the gateway to East and Central Africa.
Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa says the introduction of the flights follows successful meetings between the government of Kenya and South Korea, which saw the arrival of the first two chartered tourist flights with a total of 310 passengers in January 2012.
“One of our key areas of focus this year is to increase tourist arrivals by not only sustaining momentum in our already existing markets, but also reaching out to new markets such as South Korea. The introduction of these flights is therefore consistent with our plans,” Muriithi added.
He said already KTB has identified a number of opportunities including strong partnership with trade for the development of products relevant to the market adding that the airline will also net potential tourists from Japan and China owing to its good connectivity.
Korean Air’s new service to Nairobi will be operated by A330-200 aircraft with a total capacity of 226 seats. KE959 will depart from Seoul Incheon every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 22:15 and will arrive in Nairobi at 05:30 on the next day. As for the return flight, KE960 will depart from Nairobi at 10:30 hour every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and will arrive in Seoul Incheon at 04:50 hour on the next day.
“The launch of Korean Air’s nonstop service between Seoul Incheon and Nairobi is not only an exciting addition to the airline’s global network, but also serves as a catalyst in facilitating travel between Northeast Asia and Africa. With only 13 hours of flying time, it will offer passengers the ultimate convenience in travelling between the two cities. The launch of this new route also means that both business and leisure travellers will be able to enjoy utmost comfort and ease during the journey travelling with Korean Air,” said Korean Air’s Managing VP for Europe, Middle East & Africa Jaeho Kim
Kenya is the hub of East Africa where hundreds of renowned international companies and organisations are based, including 120 foreign embassies, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Office and UN-Habitat.
Korean Air has been serving major destinations in Africa through code sharing with Kenya Airways, one of the SkyTeam alliance members. Passengers who purchase tickets from Korean Air and fly with Kenya Airways can also earn Korean Air mileage. Riding on the launch of the new route to Nairobi as well as maintaining a close partnership with Kenya Airways, Korean Air will continue to provide passengers with a convenient schedule and wide network to Africa via its award winning hub Incheon International Airport.
The inaugural scheduled flight will touch down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 5.00am on Friday, June 22, 2012. Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo will lead the government delegation at the occasion to welcome the inaugural flight.