May 20, 2010 – Emirates Airline has confirmed it is to launch a daily flight to Prague from 1 July 2010. The move comes as a boost to the government’s effort to market Kenya as a preferred tourist destination to Central and Eastern European countries of the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, and Russia.
Emirates’ Regional Manager for East Africa Essa Sulaiman Ahmad said the launch of the Nairobi-Prague route, through the airline’s Dubai hub, was another new and exciting development for Emirates, embracing a popular European tourist destination, an emerging market and a key trading partner with Kenya.
“We have been keen to add Prague to our six-continent network, and now the time is right to start up our 24th European destination. We believe this will complement the effort by the Kenyan Government to improve tourist numbers from the Czech Republic and the neighbouring states,” said Ahmad.
In April, the Kenyan Government through signed a tourism cooperation agreement with the Czech Republic aimed at increasing Kenya’s market share in the central European nation by promoting tourism business and investments between the two countries and promoting air access by both scheduled and chartered airlines.
“Given the central location of Czech Republic, Prague will serve as an important hub for Kenya in its efforts to access other Central and Eastern European tourism markets like Russian, Austria and Poland, among others,” said Tourism Minister Najib Balala.
Currently, Kenya receives 4,000 tourists annually from the Czech Republic. The business relations between Kenya and the Czech Republic have a long tradition and Kenya has always been an important trading partner in the East African region.
“The launch of services to Prague and the new trade channel it opens up is great news for Emirates Airline on the cargo side too and we believe the new route will provide more opportunities to Kenyan business people sourcing their wares from the Czech Republic and the wider Eastern and Central European countries,” said Mr. Ahmad.
The Czech Republic exports to Kenya include workshop equipment (lathes, tools, forklifts etc.), agricultural, food processing and textile machinery, heavy engineering machinery, furnaces, steel products, and construction industry.
Other products include electricity generation and transmission, measuring and control systems, electrical and electric products, transport devices, chemical products, pesticides, glassware, medical, pharmaceutical and surgical materials, fertilizers, among other products.
Kenya exports to the Czech Republic include tea, jute, and vegetable, among others.
The service to the Czech Republic’s capital city is the 3rd new route to be announced by the Dubai-based airline for 2010 and will be Emirates’ 24th route into Europe. Services to Tokyo begin 28 March and Amsterdam comes on stream from 1 May.
A 278-seat Airbus A330, offering 27 seats in Business Class and 251 in Economy will serve the Dubai-Prague route.