Air Tanzania plans to start direct fights to Entebe in Uganda and Bujumbura in Burundi from Dar es Salaam in what is expected to bring cutthroat competition to traditional carriers Kenya Airways and Rwandair.
KQ’s dominance at the Entebbe hub could further be threatened if Uganda revives its national carrier by November.
Air Tanzania will fly to Entebbe on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. A return ticket will cost $363.
The carrier will fly to Bujumbura on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with return ticket costing $358. This is less than the average of $390 that travellers pay to get to Bujumbura and Dar es Salaam via either Nairobi, Kigali or Addis, with an additional three to six hours connecting time.
Air Tanzania is also planning to increase its domestic flights in the next two years.
Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) chief executive Ladislaus Matindi says the new destinations will include Iringa, Mpanda, Tanga as well as Shinyanga.
“We are currently operating 10 flights from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, Mwanza, Mbeya, Songea, Tabora, Kigoma, Bukoba, Mtwara and the Comoros,” he saidTanzania received its first long-range Boeing 787
Last month Tanzania received its first long-range Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam, in what Mr Matindi called a perfect aircraft to realise “our ambition to connect with the rest of the world through the initiation of intercontinental flights.”
But Kenya’s Transport Principal Secretary Paul Maringa believes the plans by Uganda and Tanzania would not affect KQ, saying the airline is being revamped to boost its competitiveness in the region.
“We will bank on the service and brand to get an edge over the competition. Kenya Airways remains dominant on most of the routes and the expected flight to the US will give it an edge within the region,” Prof Maringa said.