Dubai-based carrier flydubai will start flying to Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa on January 17, 2024. This takes the tally of its African network to eleven destinations in ten countries. The reciprocal move comes almost a year after flag carrier Kenya Airways blazed the trail between Mombasa and Dubai last December.
Like Kenya Airways, flydubai will also operate into Mombasa to Moi International Airport (MBA) four times a week. The flights will be available on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Flight FZ1289 will depart Dubai at 9.20 am every Wednesday and Sunday, arriving in Mombasa at 13.55 local time. The return FZ1290 will set off for Dubai at 14.55, arriving in Dubai at 21.25. The Monday and Friday FZ1289 flights depart Dubai a few hours later at 16.00 local time and arrive in Mombasa at 20.25. The northbound flight then departs Mombasa at 21.25 to arrive in Dubai at 3.55 a.m.
The flights will operate from Terminal 3 at Dubai International and codeshare with Emirates, allowing onward travel across the two sister airlines’ networks. Roundtrip fares will start at $1,500 for business class and $500 for economy.
The carrier’s Chief Executive, Ghaith Al Ghaith says the Mombasa service demonstrates their commitment to opening up underserved markets in Africa:
“We remain committed to opening up underserved markets and supporting Dubai’s aviation hub. Dubai has seen steady growth in investment from Africa since Expo 2020, with more than 26,000 African companies registered with the Dubai Chamber. Our direct flights to Mombasa from January and our growing operations in Africa will further support free flows of trade and tourism between the UAE and the East African markets.”
“We see a lot of potential in the African markets, and we look forward to growing our presence in the continent as we continue to grow our network and fleet in the coming years,” added Al Ghaith.
Mombasa is Kenya’s second-largest city, known for its ancient architecture and beautiful sandy beaches. The city plays a vital role in import and export trade and is a gateway into East Africa, serving Kenya and its neighboring countries.
Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations (UAE, GCC, Africa, and the Indian Subcontinent) at flydubai, said Africa was an important market for flydubai. “We are always exploring opportunities to better serve the market with reliable options to travel conveniently to Dubai and further afield onto the combined flydubai and Emirates’ network. Mombasa will be another great destination on our network for passengers from the UAE, GCC, and Europe seeking pristine beaches, wildlife parks, and cultural experiences. We look forward to the start of our four-times-weekly service to Mombasa and to increasing the frequency to the market in the future.”
Early push with mixed fortunes
flydubai already serves Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Entebbe, Hargeisa, Juba, Mogadishu, and Zanzibar. But the carrier’s earlier push into east and central Africa was met with mixed fortunes. Kigali and Bujumbura, launched alongside Entebbe in 2014, were dropped after performing below expectations. Kinshasa, which was tugged to Entebbe, was dropped in February 2019.
With a fleet of 79 aircraft, flydubai operates a network of more than 115 destinations in 52 countries across Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South-East Europe, the GCC and the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent. The fleet is composed of 30 Boeing 737-800s, 46 Boeing 737 MAX 8, and three MAX 9 aircraft. The airline reported a record-high profit in 2022 of AED 1.2 billion. It hasn’t shared numbers for HY1 2023 but expects to carry thirty percent more passengers this summer season until the end of September, or 4.5 million.