It was pomp and flair at the busy Moi International Airport in Mombasa as the first Lufthansa Group Carriers Commercial Aircraft made its maiden touchdown with 150 tourists scheduled to tour key attractions.
The Airbus A330 aircraft landed at the airport to a warm reception that included the traditional water cannon salute by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Fire Brigade and traditional welcome songs by Bombolulu Cultural Dancers that mesmerized the visitors and all present.
Talking to the press, Tourism and Wildlife Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe hinted that more German visitors will arrive after the company was licensed to operate two weekly flights in the country before increasing to four by March next year.
Euro Wings Discover operates from Frankfurt and takes tourists to some of the world’s most beautiful short and long term holiday destinations.
Safina added that the new service gives hope to Kenya’s full tourism recovery after about two years of low business levels occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic that saw stringent travel restrictions implemented worldwide.
The commercial planes, operated by Euro Wings Discover, the newest leisure airline within the Lufthansa Group Carriers are scheduled to arrive with visitors on Sundays and Thursdays bringing hope to the hospitality industry.
The PS, who led a government delegation in welcoming the first aircraft, that was enroute to the spicy Indian Ocean Island of Zanzibar, stated that the arrivals from Germany will exceed the 19,000 recorded last year and spur the hotel industry tremendously.
“We have already received 10,000 German visitors between January and June this year. We have today received 150 guests and more will arrive, with twice a week flights up to march next year,” she said, adding, ”We are delighted to receive the Euro Wings Discover flight today. As a country, we are working towards ensuring a conducive environment that allows a vibrant air travel system and in the process supports tourism activities to support the industry.
Safina said tourism players have been directed to enhance Magical Kenya Covid-19 protocol to ensure the country remains safer for domestic and foreign tourists. “We have given assurance to all that sources of our market that the sector of hospitality, tourism and travel is safe at the entry and exit points.
“This arrival is a stamp of approval that the country remains a safe and secure destination,” she added.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Company Secretary, Mr Allan Njoroge, who represented Managing Director, Dr. Betty Radier said that the entry of Euro Wings Discover in Mombasa signaled the growing travelers’ confidence in the destination following enactment of strict Covid-19 protocols.
”Commencement of this direct flight to Mombasa by Euro Wings Discover would offer a different opportunity to travelers, who want to visit for both leisure and business,” said Dr. Radier.
German Ambassador to Kenya Annet Gunter said that the arrival of the new airline was a historical event that served as testimony to excellent bilateral relations that exists between Kenya and Germany.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Acting Managing Director Alex Gitari said that they were excited at the prospects of having to handle many more international airlines after the completion of a recent airport upgrade at the facility which is Kenya’s second largest international Airport after Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
Chief Commercial Officer Euro Wings Discover Mr Helmut Woelfel said the newest leisure airline will support and help the recovery of the Kenya tourism sector which has been on a downward slump due to the covid-19 pandemic.
He said the airline is the only one serving Kenya via Mombasa Moi International Airport with direct flights from European markets, adding that it will also help international tourists in discovering Kenya as a top tourist destination of choice.
Helmut said the airline will be flying to Kenya twice a week and increase to four flights a week early next year.