Virgin Atlantic Airways will be launching daily services between Heathrow and Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, from 1 June 2007. The services will be operated by an Airbus A340-300 aircraft with 240 seats onboard -34 Upper Class, 35 Premium Economy and 171 Economy.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“I am delighted that we are able to launch another new route in 2007, enabling us to offer passengers with more choice and a larger route network. Nairobi is Virgin Atlantic’s fourth service to the African continent and it is expanding at a vast rate. Passenger numbers have doubled over the past five years and we predict its popularity will continue to grow in the years to come.
“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.”
The flights from Heathrow will depart at 19:15 and will arrive in Nairobi the following day at 06:05. Return flights from Nairobi depart at 08:20 from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and will arrive at 14:55 into London Heathrow Airport.
Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, said:
“Virgin Holidays has offered holidays to Kenya in our worldwide brochure for a number of years and it has always proved popular with our customers. Now that Virgin Atlantic will be offering direct flights we are sure that demand will grow.”
Flights will be operated on an Airbus A340-300 aircraft fitted with the Upper Class Suite. Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class Suite, consists of a reclining leather seat for take off, a place to sit and eat a three course meal opposite your partner, the longest fully flat bed in the world with a proper mattress for sleeping on, a private onboard bar to drink at with your friends, a private massage zone and four limousines per return trip - all at a price thousands of pounds less than other airlines’ First Class. The Upper Class experience also includes Drive Thru Check In, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, the restaurant style inflight Freedom menu and a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system.
Virgin Atlantic offers a unique product for Premium Economy passengers. Passengers can enjoy dedicated check-in and priority boarding. Virgin Atlantic’s Economy class continues to offer passengers value for money and added extras like seat back televisions for all passengers with video on demand.
Kenya’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Madame Rebecca Nabutola said in response:
“Virgin Atlantic is an airline we have actively pursued for the past few years to begin flights to Kenya and we are overjoyed with their decision to add Nairobi to their route schedule. Virgin Atlantic’s quality, high standards and distinction as one of the world’s premier airlines is what we have been pursuing and we know that they will build not only the visitor travel to Kenya but also the business travel sector from the UK and North America.”
Dr. Ongong’a Achieng, the Managing Director of the Kenya Tourist Board added:
“This announcement by Virgin Atlantic is great news for Kenya’s tourism. In the last few years we have focused on delivering quality to travellers to Kenya and Virgin Atlantic is a key component in this initiative. We have seen significant increases in the demand for Kenya in Europe and North America and this is great news for those markets, which we are sure will be flying Virgin Atlantic in droves.”
Virgin Atlantic flies to 27 destinations worldwide with a route launch to Chicago in April next year and Mauritius in October 2007.