Middle Eastern airline drops flights

The latest search on this Middle Eastern airline’s website for flights to Kigali, and also to Kilimanjaro, a few minutes ago yielded nothing else but a pop up window which read:

Please enter a valid destination

This no doubt comes as a surprise to some as it was only in October last year that FlyDubai airline opened a fully-fledged office in the Rwandan capital, also providing Visa services for passengers.

Staff at the Kampala office would not be drawn into answering questions what might have prompted this development after the airline just a few weeks ago pulled their services to Bujumbura, following ongoing political unrest which saw passenger loads literally collapse.

Kilimanjaro too disappeared without much ado from the list of destinations and the once daily services to and from Entebbe now only show three flights a week, on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, also cut back with little fanfare.

The airline had for the first few months of their last financial year struggled and written bottom line figures with red ink and while recovering in the second half of the last financial year suffered a reverse of fortunes when the profits posted at year’s end had fallen by some 60 percent compared to the previous year.

While revenues reportedly were up by over 11 percent to 4.9 billion UAD was profit down to just over 100 million UAD. Passenger numbers were reportedly up by a staggering 25 percent to over 9 million, yet not translating into greater profits. Media statements attributed to the airline spoke of the fluctuations of the US Dollar as a cause for the drop in profitability.

This however does not explain the sudden departure from three destinations in East Africa and the cutback in capacity to Entebbe from an initial seven to just three flights per week.

There has been speculation about overcapacity on the route from Dubai to Entebbe with Emirates serving the route daily with a Boeing B777 though there have been suggestions that they will switch back to the smaller Airbus A340 to cater for the downturn in passenger numbers.