11-02-2021 by Leni Frau
The local airline Skyward is ready to fly from Nairobi's Wilson airport to Malindi and from Malindi to Lamu.
Skyward Express has decided to bet on the two coastal destinations, launching these days the two routes, served by Dash8 aircraft of 50 or 37 seats.
The inauguration of the new service took place yesterday at the Malindi International Airport, in the presence of Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi and Tourism Minister Nahida Athman, together with various local dignitaries, heads of tourism associations and entrepreneurs.
"Initially, we had decided to connect Nairobi with Lamu, through a flight that also made a stopover in Mombasa - explained the CEO of Skyward Express, Mohamed Abdi - then we thought it was right to also connect the route Malindi-Lamu. So Malindi will be served by us daily and Lamu will have two connections a day.
Return tickets between Nairobi Wilson and Malindi will cost Kes. 4,950 each way and Malindi-Lamu tickets will cost Kes. 3.000.
The flight to Malindi will depart daily from the capital at 2.10pm and arrive at the coastal town's airport at 3.20pm.
"This is an exciting and crucial moment for us. It is part of our strategy to improve the local tourism network and to further open Malindi to local traffic," added Abdi. "We are honoured to be able to contribute to the growth of the tourism sector in Malindi and neighbouring towns such as Watamu and Mambrui which together make up a leading tourist destination, acclaimed worldwide for its pristine beaches and unique cultural sites. By flying to Malindi, Skyward hopes to take advantage of the expected increase in traffic to Malindi and Watamu that local tourists have been frequenting in recent months."
The launch of the flights connecting Malindi to Nairobi coincides with the Valentine's Day weekend and Skyward is inviting all couples to a romantic mini-vacation, although the response so far is still below expectations. However, the CEO explained that promotion of this route will need to be pushed.
This is also the hope of the tourism entrepreneurs in Malindi and Watamu, who would not want to wait until Easter to have satisfactory numbers of hotel occupancy and all the induced activities that the presence of tourists creates.
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