Kenya Airways to launch first United States services in October 2018

Ann Santiago
January 13, 2018

Kenya Airways (KQ) will from October 28th 2018 make daily flights from Nairobi to NY.

The new long haul route is part of an effort to revive the airline's fortunes after it came close to collapse, leading to a $2 billion financial restructuring in November that included a government bailout which shrank Air France KLM's stake.

"I can't exactly tell you how happy I feel about this news", said Stanely Njoroge, a Kenyan-born resident of South Jersey.

The Kenya Tourism Board also termed the national carrier's direct flight to the a welcome development as it is expected to accelerate growth of the tourism industry by contributing to increased tourist arrivals.

Subsequent flights for the inaugural flight has started selling for KSH 87,000 ($869). The 15-hour flight will operate onboard a B787 Dreamliner, with 234 seats.

According to the loss-making national carrier, the flights between Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and New York's JFK Airport will play a critical role in returning it to profitability adding that the airline's revenues from the route had the potential to increase its earnings by 10 per cent in the course of 2019.

"This is a symbol of the comeback of Kenya Airways", Chairman Michael Joseph said.

The Airline's Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Sebastian Mikosz attributed the achievement to the dedicated and talented staff at the airline that work hard to provide the best travel experience possible for its guests.

The airline claims to be the first to offer direct services from East Africa to the US.

Kenya is East Africa's economic hub but has suffered from the extremist threat posed by the al-Shabab insurgency in neighboring Somalia.

He said the flights will see Kenya Airways employ more pilots and more crew to facilitate the functionality of the new flight route launched.

The direct flight to the United States from Kenya is not the cheapest but the most convenient alternative to travel to the leading Western hub. USA is now Kenya's top tourism source market, commanding a market share of 12.2 percent of total arrivals to Kenya as at October 2017.

The US route completes an essential piece on KQ network which flies to various Africa, Europe, Middle-East, Indian sub-continent and Asia destinations "It fits within our strategy to attract corporate and high-end tourism traffic from the world to Kenya and Africa".

It continues to modernize its fleet with its 32 aircrafts being some of the youngest in Africa.

In the first 10 months of 2017, 95,771 tourists traveled to Kenya from the United States, a figure that has been rising 20 percent in each of the past two years, he said.

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