Turkey’s national carrier Turkish Airlines – is the latest intercontinental carrier to announce an increase in flights to Kigali amid a surge in travelers coming to Rwanda – as tourism booms and a rise in business travelers.
The carrier announced in a statement that it will increase the service on the Istanbul – Kigali – Entebbe route from currently 4 weekly flights to 5 weekly flights, effective 28 October 28, 2012.
The Belgian flag carrier, Brussels Airlines also announced last week that starting from October 28, it will add a fourth flight to the already existing 3 every week. Brussels Airlines flies into Kigali via Nairobi.
Subject to Rwanda government approval, Brussels Airlines also said it wants to add a fifth flight via Kigali to Nairobi beginning from December 17 to January 01, 2013.
Turkish Airlines is one of the several intercontinental carriers currently flying into Kigali. The others are the “five-star” carrier Qatar Airways, Dutch airline KLM, Brussels Airlines and regional giant Kenya Airways.
Rwanda recorded an estimate of 493,744 visitors in the first semester 2012 corresponding to an increase of 22% compared to 2011 in the same period. There was 16% increase in leisure visitors as well as an 8% increase in business visitors.
As Kigali International Airport gets a new US$15million facelift, officials hope more airlines will be flocking to Kigali to have a pie of the booming tourism sector.
Meanwhile, as these global carriers increase flights to Kigali, they are dropping travel to some places in this region. Turkish Airlines also announced certain operational and frequency changes to other East Africa Winter 2012/13 schedule.
As of 28 Oct 2012, Turkish Airlines will reduce its service between Istanbul and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) from daily flights to 5 weekly flights. Also starting on 28 Oct 2012, Turkish Airlines will operate the flight between Istanbul and Nairobi with a Boeing 737-900 instead of a Boeing 737-800.