The East African economic hub’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, has partnered with Safarilink Aviation to open up Kenya to global travellers.
In a codeshare agreement with Kenya’s premier safari airline, KQ signed the one-way agreement on Monday selling Safarilink’s direct flights to the best safari and unique beach destinations within Kenya and Tanzania.
This codeshare agreement comes at a time when KQ is aggressively marketing its Nairobi and New York route which just saw the airline hit its first-year milestone this October.
Aggressive expansion programme
Since the launch of the route, Kenya Airways has signed 15 Codeshare agreements which have seen it steadily penetrate the highly competitive US market.
During the year, the national carrier ferried over 105,000 passengers, operated 594 flights and continues to establish strategic partnerships to provide options for more seamless connections between Africa and the US.
The airline was the first in East Africa to fly non-stop into a US city and since the launch of the NBO – NYC route on October 28, 2018, the national carrier.
With its Safarilink codeshare agreement, KQ seeks to tap into the lucrative tourism sector by making travellers connect easily without the hassle of connecting flights.
The agreement means that KQ will sell 18 remote Safarilink destinations in their global sales and distribution network. This will enable them to combine their travel experience between respective international destinations and 18 remote destinations within Kenya and Tanzania that Safarilink operates.
During the signing of the partnership, Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Mikosz said, “As part of our strategy to continue growing the network, we have seen the need to give travel ease to our customers by connecting their destinations.”
He added that the partnership will also significantly open up Kenya’s tourist destinations to international travellers by allowing tour operators and travel agencies to create unique holiday packages connecting from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (KJIA) to Wilson Airport and eventually to their respective safari destinations.
Convenience for travellers
This is a great convenience to the travellers who now have to worry less about the connections they would make.
The partnership will see KQ place its codeshare flight numbers on the Safarilink flights. With this, customers from international destinations can book their full safari experience directly via KQ holidays or via tour operators and travel agents.
It will provide daily scheduled flights that will provide convenient access to the eleven airstrips in Maasai Mara and direct flights to Amboseli, Samburu, Lamu, Zanzibar, Ukunda, Vipingo, Kilimanjaro, Tsavo, Lodwar, Kitale, Lake Naivasha, Laikipia, Lewa downs, Olpajeta, Loisaba, Nanyuki and, Mt. Kenya, avoiding long and cumbersome road transport.
Safarilink Aviation Chief Executive Officer Alex Avedi said, “This significant partnership with KQ will provide seamless connection of passengers from the KQ network straight into Kenya and Tanzania’s world-famous parks.”
KQ’s other international destinations include Bangkok, Dubai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Amsterdam, London, Geneva, Rome and Paris.
Over 1.3 million people toured Kenya through JKIA in 2018 with Kenya Airways being responsible for 60 per cent of overall traffic at the airport.
Sales will effectively start before November 30, 2019.
Avedi was appointed by Safarilink last year to replace John Buckley whose retirement was expected at the end of 2018.
He took over on June 1, 2018, with Buckley who co-founded Safarilink remaining on the board as a Director and shareholder.
“John has overseen the development and growth of an excellent airline operation that is well respected in the market. Despite the ups and downs in the tourism market, under John’s leadership, the team has built a reputable and reliable airline, with an excellent safety record and a strong foothold in the local aviation market,” said Safarilink Chairman Mbuvi Ngunze, another former operative at KQ.
For Safarilink to be joining KQ for this endeavour, the airline is at home.
In 2015, online hotel booking platform, Jovago, signed a partnership with Safarilink to ensure easy booking of hotels by travellers booking flights on flysafarilink.com.
The travellers would make their hotel bookings without having to exit the carrier’s website.
Featuring over 1,500 hotels in Kenya, Jovago.com made it convenient and economical for travellers visiting the website to match their flight schedule with preferred accommodation.