Air Tanzania’s Nairobi entry to make skies bumpier for KQ

 Air Tanzania plane.

An Air Tanzania plane.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Air Tanzania will step up competition for the East Africa skies with a flight on Dar e Saalam-Nairobi route starting this Friday.

The airline also started operating three flights a week to Ndola in Zambia and the eastern DR Congo city of Lubumbashi on Thursday last week.

The Dar es Saalam –Nairobi route will offer competitive pricing for Ugandan fliers who have been connecting to various capitals through Nairobi, Addis Ababa or Kigali on Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines or RwandaAir respectively. “The resumption of Air Tanzania operations between Dar es Saalam and Nairobi, is as at the best a game changer in the bilateral engagement between Tanzania and Kenya,” said High Commissioner of United Republic of Tanzania in Nairobi John Stephen Simbachawene last week.

The carrier will fly twice a day between Dar es Saalam and Nairobi.

The morning flight will leave Dar es Salam at 5:50am to arrive in Nairobi at 6:45am. The flight will then depart Nairobi at 7:30am to arrive in Tanzania at 9am.

Evening flight

The evening flight will see the airline depart Julius Nyerere International Airport at 8pm to arrive in Nairobi at 9pm. The flight will then leave Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 10pm to arrive in Tanzania at 10:45pm. The launch of operations by Air Tanzania on the Nairobi-Dar es Saalam route is set to pile pressure on Kenya Airways that is currently among the main players on the route.

KQ has at least four daily flights to Dar es Salaam, five to Entebbe, four to Lusaka and at least one daily to Livingstone (Zambia). It also flies to two other cities in Zambia.

The carrier is already facing strong headwinds on its African and Asian routes as the average ticket price has declined due to competition.

The airline’s first flight to Nairobi from Julius Nyerere International Airport will cost Sh37, 525 ($334) for a return trip and approximately Sh23, 594 ($210) one way.

Entry of Air Tanzania at lower prices is bound to set off price wars between the duo. KQ has previously stated that “this downward trend in fare is the result of increased competition and overcapacity on intra-Africa and Africa-Asia traffic.

Skies bumpier

 Increased capacity by its competitors has already taken a chunk of the carrier’s revenue. The recent acquisition of planes by Uganda and Tanzania as well as the signing of a partnership between Ethiopian airlines and the Zambian government to revive the national airline is making the skies bumpier for the KQ currently struggling to return to profitability.

Air Tanzania currently operates 12 domestic routes, namely Zanzibar, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Geita, Bukoba, Kigoma, Mpanda, Mbeya, Tabora, Dodoma, and Songea.

On the international routes, the airline flies to Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Comoros in the continent, and Mumbai, India, and Guangzhou, China.