First commercial flight launched in Garissa.

Residents of Garissa county who wish to travel by air to other areas can now do so following the launch of the first flight in the area today.

The Freedom Airline which carried its first passengers today will be operating on Monday and Fridays.

It will charge shs 5,000 per passenger per trip.

According to Shillow Abukar, the manager of the airline, he decided to venture into the business following numerous requests from the residents.

Speaking to the press after seeing off the first bunch of travelers, Shillow said that the agency will be consistent and urged the residents to travel by air saying that it was faster and more affordable.

I am really encouraged by the big number of those who had turned up to travel on the first day (17 in number). I am optimistic that going forward, we will have a much bigger number who will fill the plane, said Hillow.

Buses normally charge shs 1,000 and takes 6 hours from Garissa to Nairobi.

Shillow said that the airline plans to make it daily depending on the passengers.

Fatuma Abdi, a nominated MCA from Garissa, who was among those who flew on the first day welcomed it saying that it will go along way that apart from reducing cost, it will also reduce traveling hours.

Initially I used to get inconvenienced a lot. Whenever I wanted to travel to Nairobi I was forced to fuel my vehicle and hire a driver. In total I was using close to 25,000.but with the flight, I will save a lot, she said.

She challenged the airline to start of direct flights from Garissa to Mombasa and Lamu saying that many have business interests in the areas but it was tiring to travel by road.

Ahmed Jelle a local business man from Garissa said that the sick who have always been forced to travel for long distances while being rushed to Nairobi for treatment will get to Nairobi in good time to be treated.

Two years ago, another airline, Sagal airline launched the operations but did not last a week because there were no passengers.

They were charging 8,000 which according to many was much.

Source: Kenya News Agency