Jambojet has launched flights to Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as it expands beyond the Eastern Africa region to Central Africa.
The budget airline, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, made the inaugural flight on Friday, becoming the first airline to directly connect Nairobi to DRC’s North Kivu province in the two hour flight. It will be flying twice a week to Goma from JKIA, with a potential to increase to four per week based on the traffic.
The price of the round-trip Nairobi-Goma is set at $397 (Sh43,670) on an initial promotional offer. A one-way flight will initially cost $190 (Sh20,900) from Goma but $207 (Sh22,770) from Nairobi.
Kenya’s Ambassador to DRC George Masafu, Jambojet CEO Karanja Ndegwa, Military Governor of North Kivu General Ndima Kongba Constant and Kenya’s MFA Director Foreign Service Amb Samuel Gitonga launched the inaugural flight to Goma on Friday.
“Today’s launch of Jambojets’ maiden flight to Goma is testament to the unwavering commitment of Kenya and DRC towards further deepening the long-standing warm and cordial relations.
“The bilateral bonds that join the two countries are anchored on the long-standing people-to-people relations and engagement which has resulted in mutual benefit for the people of Kenya and DRC,” Ambassador Masafu saidon Friday.
He noted that the timing of Jambojet flight to Goma, could not have been better nor it’s significance overstated.
“There is a growing demand for air transport across the continent and direct flights will boost trade and tourism between Kenya and DRC hence consolidate our warm and cordial relations. The weekly flights will provide a connecting hub for business travellers and tourists from Kenya, the DRC and those transiting to other destinations,” he said.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TOI FLY TO GOMA?
The launch also comes at a time DRC is awaiting admission to the East African Community.
Speaking during Secretary General’s 100 days in office forum, Dr Peter Mathuki said when admitted, the DRC will bring to the community more than 80 million.
“The economic bloc will have a total population of close to 300 million. That is a huge market for us and will make EAC competitive in the world. We are going to see people moving from DRC to the region and vice versa. So the entry of DRC will be a game-changer in as far as intra-regional trade in East Africa is concerned,” Mathuki said.
In 2018, for instance, the value of imported goods into the DRC stood at $7.4 billion. From this, the value of EAC exports to the DRC stood at $855.4 million only, which represents just 11.5 per cent of DRC imports. Consumables imports is about 31 per cent, I’d even say from China, and South Africa, which is about 16 per cent, while Zambia takes 15 per cent.
With DRC coming on board, this 11 per cent is likely to multiply by even four times to up to 50 per cent.
Kenya also seeks to open two more consulates, on in Goma.