Ugandans got a direct air link to the DRC capital yesterday when Dubai based carrier flydubai, commenced services to Kinshasa on April 15.

The daily service, which brings flydubai’s destinations on the continent to 13, operates via Entebbe, providing an unexpected dividend for DRC bound Ugandans that will no longer need to transit through neighbouring capitals.

But their will have to endure with a less flattering arrival time in Dubai which moves shifts six hours to 3.45am daily.

The inaugural service touched down at N’djili Airport, the DRC’s main international gateway at 14.20 local on Sunday having left Entebbe two hours earlier.

“As one of the largest and most populous cities in Africa, Kinshasa, is a key hub for travel and trade. Africa is one of the UAE’s emerging trade partners and with the opening of this new route to one of the busiest airports in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there will be further opportunities to strengthen commercial ties across a neighbouring continent with vast natural resources,” flydubai chief executive officer Ghaith Al Ghaith, said of the new service.

Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (UAE, GCC, Indian Subcontinent and Africa), who led the inaugural delegation, added: “Africa has been an important market for flydubai since the airline’s launch in 2009. We continue to see strong demand for direct airlinks and last year flydubai contributed 13pc of the total growth at Dubai Airports for the African market.”

flydubai will codeshare this route with Emirates. With the partnership, passengers can connect easily and conveniently to over 90 of flydubai’s destinations which complement the Emirates route network, spanning six continents in over 80 countries.

The Kinshasa service represents a bold comeback for the carrier that in February 2016 was forced to withdraw from three routes – Bujumbura, Kigali and Kilimanjaro, just fifteen months after their introduction.