What you need to know:
- The choice of Goma as the first city for Jambojet in the DR Congo is justified by the economic and tourism opportunities North Kivu presents.
Kenyan budget airline Jambojet on Friday launched flights to Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as it seeks expansion into the central African country.
Jambojet, a subsidiary of national carrier Kenya Airways, made its inaugural flight, becoming the first airline to directly connect the capital of North Kivu province and Nairobi.
It will be flying twice a week to Goma from its hub at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
However, the company’s officials said the frequency could rise to four per week if traffic increases.
The cost of the round trip Nairobi-Goma is fixed at $397 on an initial promotional offer.
A one-way flight will initially cost $190 from Goma and $207 from Nairobi.
“We are excited about the growth prospects in the region. We have an ambitious plan to develop our network and are proud to be the first low cost airline to venture down this route, ”said Jambojet Managing Director Ndegwa Karanja.
Kenya’s Ambassador to Kinshasa, George Masafu, was among the dignitaries who welcomed the inaugural Jambojet flight on Friday, alongside senior government officials in Goma.
Jambojet wants to increase its fleet and link Nairobi to other cities in the DRC.
The choice of Goma as the first city is justified by the economic and tourism opportunities North Kivu presents.
Goma is also the nearest point of interest for Kenya, which has recently signed memoranda of understanding with the government in Kinshasa to increase cooperation.
The DRC is also awaiting admission to the East African Community, which could make Goma an important city for the region.
“The DRC is a growing regional economy and several Kenyan companies have already established operations in this region, for example, two of Kenya's largest commercial banks - Equity and KCB,” Mr Ndegwa said.
“With that comes the demand for travel between the countries as more professionals and investors come to the DRC. Goma is also a major untapped tourist destination, with magnificent views of Lake Kivu, one of the iconic parks in the world, the Virunga National Park, to name a few.”
The DRC was represented at the ceremony by divisional commissioner Jean Romuald Romy Ekuka Lipopo, police vice-governor of North Kivu.
The provincial authority announced that several other cooperation initiatives between the two countries were underway, including opening of the Kenyan consulate in Goma.