Virgin Atlantic chooses Kenya
Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it will be launching daily services between London (Heathrow) and Nairobi from 1st June 2007. The services will be operated by an Airbus A340-300 aircraft with 240 seats.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
"Around 500,000 people fly to Nairobi each year to enjoy the beautiful Kenyan scenery and wildlife it has to offer at its outstanding game reserves with large numbers of passengers also flying to and from America, via London. It is also the leading hub for east Africa providing a gateway for the whole of East Africa and the India Ocean and Nairobi is an important city in its own right with many international institutions based there.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Kenya Tourist Board for helping Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays to achieve its goal of starting operations to Nairobi and we look forward to working with them closely in the next few years to promote travel to the region."
Welcoming the positive news, Dr Ongong’a Achieng, the Kenya Tourist Board Managing Director said: “We are delighted by Virgin Atlantic’s decision to fly to Kenya next year. This announcement is a result of several months of discussion between Kenya Tourist Board and Virgin Atlantic and is set to strengthen the long established business links between the UK and Kenya”. He added, “The increased capacity presents us with an opportunity to expose our unique tourism product to the different segments of Virgin Atlantic’s customers”.
UK is Kenya’s number one tourist source market contributing 20% of the total international arrivals. This presents an opportunity for Virgin Atlantic to tap into the great tourism potential in this market.
“We are pleased that Virgin Atlantic has chosen Kenya”, said the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Rebecca Nabutola. “The announcement by Virgin Atlantic has come at a time when our tourism industry is on an upward trend and demand for the destination is continuing to grow. The entry of Virgin Atlantic into the market will address the capacity challenge we have been facing”.
Kenya’s tourist arrival by air and sea has been growing at an annual average rate of 10% and is expected to increase by an additional 5% in 2007.
KTB Chairman, Jake Grieves-Cook said: "The new Virgin Atlantic service is very welcome news for Kenya's tourism industry and this will give a huge boost to our marketing in the two biggest source markets, the UK and USA. The Virgin brand has a strong following and its daily flights into Nairobi will offer a premium quality service for the upper end of the market that we are seeking to attract to Kenya."
Since it was founded in 1984, Virgin Atlantic Airways has become Britain’s second largest carrier serving the world’s major cities. Now based at both London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports, it currently operates long haul services to twenty seven destinations world-wide with a route launch to Chicago in April next year and Mauritius in October 2007. Virgin Atlantic currently has a fleet of 36 aircraft which includes thirteen 747s and five A340-300s and eighteen A340-600s.
For more information contact:
Rose Musonye Kwena
Kenya Tourist Board
P.O. Box 30630
00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Virgin Atlantic Press Office
PR & Corporate Affairs Manager
Tel: +441293 7473773