Dubai-based flydubai’s inaugural flights to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar touched down yesterday in Tanzania.
The new routes further underline flydubai’s rapid expansion in Africa, which has seen the carrier’s network double to 12 destinations this year.
flydubai entered the market in 2009 with flights to Djibouti, and in 2011 Addis Ababa became flydubai’s second East African destination. In 2014, flydubai added six new routes to the continent with the start of flights to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and three destinations in Tanzania.
Commenting on the start of flights to Tanzania, Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said: “The United Arab Emirates has recognized the immense potential in the emerging markets of East Africa, like Tanzania. We continue to work diligently to support the travel, trade, and tourism objectives by strengthening the direct links between the UAE and these African markets.”
The flydubai delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President Commercial (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa), was met with inaugural events held at Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar airports on 22 October 2014. Among the senior officials who met the inaugural flights were HE Janet Z. Mbene (MP), Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, HE Dr. Omary Mjenga, Consul General to the UAE and HE Samia Hassan Suluhu, Minister of State.
“The pace of flydubai’s expansion in East Africa has picked up. Six of the 23 new routes we have launched this year are to Africa. The potential we see for this market is just the tip of the iceberg as it is still a heavily underserved region. We are very excited about our new flights to Tanzania, which are going to be very popular for our passengers whether for leisure or business,” commented Sreedharan.
Tanzania has emerged as a noteworthy trade partner for Dubai recently and ranked among the major non-oil trade partners in Africa last year topping USD 1.86 billion in total annual trade, according to recent figures from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
flydubai started operating its new Boeing 737-800 fleet configured with Business Class on its Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar flights from 16 October 2014, providing passengers between Tanzania and the UAE with a more convenient, high-quality and reliable service with the option to connect onwards through Dubai’s aviation hub.