Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Kenya open sales for NY flight

Kenya open sales for NY flight

"This new flight is opening a new chapter in the history of Kenya Airways", Kenya Airways Group CEO Sebastian Mikosz said.

The flight is scheduled to leave JKIA at 10:30pm every day, lasting for a duration of 15 hours - a significant reduction from the current 22 hours required for the journey.

Kenya Airways operates a further 40 routes within Africa from Nairobi.

Kenya Airways becomes the first airline in the region to offer direct flights to the United States.

Prior to the announcement of the new flight, Kenya and Kenya Airways went through stringent assessments before achieving Category 1 status for safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a requirement for direct flights to the U.S. From New-York it will depart at 1225 and land at JKIA at 1055 the following day.

Kenya Airways, in a statement, touted the flight as the quickest way to get from East Africa to NY. The return flight will leave NY at 12:25 p.m. and arrive in Nairobi the next day at 10:55 a.m. Though the flight will take upwards of 15 hours, in some cases, it will afford passengers much more time at their origin and/or destination.

Kenya has in the past year been in the process of acquiring the requisite approvals from the US Transport Security Administration for the direct flights and the national carrier admits it will be a logistic intensive exercise.

American firms with a deep presence include IBM, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft and Cisco.

The chief executive noted the USA is Kenya's top tourist source market, with 95,771 people having visited between January and Oct 2017.

Kenya Airways will be using its vast African connecting routes to pull passengers to fly direct to the US.

"It will generate jobs, boost trade and stimulate tourism into Kenya".

Also expected to reap from the flights include horticulture and flower exporters and manufacturers, especially textile exporters eligible to export to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) terms.

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". He says the new route will return the airline into profitability.

The firm recently announced a Sh3.8 billion half-year net loss for the business but hopes various initiatives will return it to profitability. Mikosz revealed the carrier will continue to modernise its fleet though its 32 aircraft are some of the youngest in Africa.

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