Taking place in Tanzania, this flight took me fr om Stone Town, capital of the Zanzibar archipelago, to the Arusha Airport, which should not be confused with Kilimanjaro International Airport. Flight number REG-1011 operated by Regional Air Services. Plane is a Cessna 208. Departure from Zanzibar (Abeid Amani Karume International Airport) at 2:45 PM local time. Arrival at Arusha Airport at 4:40 PM local time.
- Regional Air Services (RAS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Kenya, and essentially serves to connect the wilderness preserves of the North Circuit.
- It doesn't have an IATA code, at least not that I managed to discover.
- The price for one adult ticket was $208 (160 Euro), or $92 (71 Euro) for East Africans (EAC)
- Total travel distance: 265 miles
The airport had no waiting area worthy of the name, but rather an open-sided extension next to the registration stands.
With a reusable laminated boarding pass in my pocket, I quickly passed through security.
Despite its international status, the airport was basic in the extreme. A brand new terminal, built by a Chinese company, is scheduled to open next year.
The small waiting room contained several boutiques, souvenir shops and food vendors, all rather overpriced compared to the cost of the tickets and the prices in the city.
The place was rather disorganized, so you had to be on your toes so as not to miss the boarding announcement.
About 15 minutes before the scheduled departure, a staff member announced that it was time to board.
On the right is the single desk which handles all domestic flights from multiple airlines.
150,000 Tanzanian shillings = about 92 USD (71 Euro).
Representatives from some of the local airlines: a Tropical Air Let 410 and an Air Excel plane.
Precision Air, the biggest Tanzanian airline.
International visitors: Ethiopian Airlines.
and Oman Air:
Local landscape art: "SMILE, UR IN (squiggle)…!"
The waiting room is pretty full.
2. The Flight
While the outgoing flight costs the full fare, the return flight costs only 92 USD (71 Euro). I think it's clear why.
The pilot, Hussein, upon seeing me taking pictures of everything, offered for me to sit in the copilot's seat. However, while this opportunity was very generous and unique, I politely declined because my view out the window would be severely lim ited.
Boarding is finished.
He's flying solo today.
Terminals, the new (under construction) and the old.
Takeoff was 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Aerial view of the terminal.
...and of a nearby suburb.
The west coast:
Stone Town, towards the north of the island.
Interesting, a French container ship, based on its name and the name of its operator (CMA CGM La Tour).
Most touristy part of the city
The rest of the flight was calm and smooth.
The cabin. What's that blue thing back there?
No difficult choices here...
The in-flight meal. I wonder what the airline gourmets think of this one?
Always good to have one of these handy.
From time to time the pilot would spice things up with information on tourist spots.
"Ndege" means bird and/or plane in Kiswahili.
The official price (taxes add about $90).
A small tour of the cockpit.
The GPS of the C208.
After 2 hours of flight and a rapid descent, the pressure change seems to have compressed my water bottle (is this even possible?). The wheels touched solid ground at 4:35 PM.
Arusha, and its business district in the background.
The runway has been in the process of expansion for 4 years now, with no end in sight.
Repressurization after the rapid descent?
Our plane 5H-RES in Arusha.
Arusha serves primarily turboprop planes, the majority of them C208 Caravans.
The arrival lounge.
The security staff.
The arrival lounge from the outside.
As a parting gift, here are 2 more photos:
Mount Meru, 14977 ft (4565 m)
The majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, 19340 ft (5895 m)
If I had had to pay the higher "mzungu" (foreigner) fare, the grades would probably have been a shade lower (or I might not have taken the flight at all).
Punctuality: 20/20. We took off ahead of schedule.
Comfort: 15/20. The cabin was well maintained and the seats were comfortable, the cabin of a small plane is always more pleasant.
Personnel: 11/20. The pilot's offer was exceptionally kind, and his few comments were informative.
Meals: 8/20. Memorable for their simplicity.
Thank you for reading.
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