This deal came when the two countries hoped to deepen their trade ties. Ethiopian Airlines are now able to fly twice daily to the coastal town of Mombasa. The agreement between the two leaders was finalized in early May this year when Dr. Ali had paid a visit to President Uhuru in State House, Nairobi. Tourism in the coastal town of Mombasa will be boosted by this move as it has heavily depended on Europe charter flights in the past. Currently, Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir are the only regional airlines that operate scheduled flights to Mombasa from Addis Ababa and Kigali, respectively. The Turkish Airlines is the only European airline operating scheduled flights to Mombasa from Istanbul.
Ethiopian Airlines owned by the state is among the top beating the rival South African Airways and Kenya Airways. It is the largest airline in Africa in revenue base and profit. Ethiopian Airlines aimed at becoming Africa’s largest airline by 2025, but it has already achieved this. Currently, the airline has 100 planes flying to different destinations from South America to Asia, including four cities in the US.
Meanwhile, Kenya Airways has plans to operate its first direct flight to the US in October, this year. Stakeholders, including hoteliers, have been lobbying for more international direct flights to Mombasa to increase the number of tourists. Currently, tourists from global markets first land on Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi then connect a flight to Mombasa.