•The largest German airline will ply the long-haul route using its subsidiary–Eurowings.
•Direct flights from Germany will be a boost for Mombasa which is preferred by the Dutch tourists.
Lufthansa will commence direct to Frankfurt-Mombasa beginning March 31 next year, the group has announced.
The largest German airline will ply the long-haul route (Frankfurt-Mombasa-Zanzibar) using its subsidiary–Eurowings.
It will operate an Airbus A330 with a capacity of 283 passengers on its twice a week flights.
Announcing the new route, General Manager Southern Africa and East Africa, Andre Schulz, said East Africa) forms an important part of Lufthansa's Africa network even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The new route will provide leisure passengers an exciting travel experience and offers numerous connections at the Frunkfurt hub,” Schulz said, “Mombasa offers an attractive opportunity for leisure travellers.”
The new route, he added, reinforces the group’s commitment to connecting East Africa to European home markets, Europe and the rest of the world, “unlocking trade, tourism and economic opportunities.”
The announcement is a shot in the arm to Kenya's tourism industry, reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic impact which has cut international tourist arrivals.
Direct flights from Germany will be a boost for Mombasa which is preferred by the Dutch tourists.
Germany is the leading European tourist market source for Kenya, followed by France and Italy.
Last year, total arrivals from Germany were 73,150, Tourism Research Institute data shows.
Arrivals from France were 54,979 while those from Italy totaled 54,607.
The Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) has since welcomed the move, terming it a blessing to Mombasa and the country at large.
“Germany is not just any other source market. It is a very significant market for destination Mombasa,” KTF Chairman Mohammed Hersi told the Star on telephone.
He said the decision by Lufthansa signals better days ahead for the tourism sector which is looking at post Covid-19 recovery.
“We still have a long way to go but it is a step in the right direction,” said Hersi.
Last month, the government announced the country recorded 14,049 international arrivals since the reopening of the international borders on August 1.
6,368 came to visit family and friends, 3,685 for holiday, 2,325 on business, 1,129 in transit, 221 for education, 194 for medical, 72 for religious purposes, 47 for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition and eight for sports.
“The data released is invaluable to the country as it helps us to keep track of international tourist numbers to determine whether tourism and travel is improving since the easing of travel restrictions and the resumption of international flights into the country," Tourism CS Najib Balala said.