15 February 2019

Tanzania: Coastal Aviation to Ply Serengeti, Ruaha Routes

Arusha — Coastal Aviation is expanding its flight network in the country and will soon commence scheduled flights to Serengeti and Ruaha national parks from Arusha.

The daily flights, which will also extend to Iringa, the southern tourist circuit hub from the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), will finally end in Arusha.

The flights will link Tanzania's largest wildlife protected area (Ruaha) with KIA, the gateway for foreign tourists, as well as Serengeti NP, one of the country's top destinations.

The daily flights will commence on June 1st this year, according to Captain Maynard Mkumbwa, the firm's director of Operations.

While Arusha airport handles a big number of leisure travellers, Iringa is increasingly attracting charter and scheduled flights for tourists.

He said the new route to the heart of the southern circuit's wilderness will give passengers - especially tourists - alternative points of arrival and departure.

"We are providing our partners and passengers with further options to link remote and authentic safari destinations," he told The Citizen in an interview.

The new flight schedules will also allow foreign tourists to continue with their onward journeys locally to connect their home bound flights from KIA.

Major international carriers namely KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, RwandAir, Condor Air Charters, Kenya Airways and Turkish Airlines and others land daily at KIA.

Coastal Aviation, a charter airline established in 1987, has increasingly turned to scheduled flights to its more than 20 local destinations and two outside the country in a code-sharing charter basis.

"We have developed a scheduled flying safari network capable of accessing the remotest parts of East Africa, not yet (easily) reachable by roads," he further said.

According to him, 80 per cent of the airline's passengers - estimated to be 200,000 a year - are tourists.

The aviation company currently has a total of 24 aircrafts, 18 of which are 12-passenger seater Cessna Caravan.

Six of the aircrafts are nine-seater Pilatus, two of which are in executive configuration.

Mr Mkumbwa said the executive configured Caravan will be introduced in June this year as well to expand executive charter product.

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