Kenya Airways launches NY flights

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Looking on is chairman Michael Joseph (right) and chief commercial officer Vincent Coste.

Kenya Airways will launch daily Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta-New York JFK services on October 28, becoming the first airline to offer a nonstop flight between East Africa and the US. The announcement came as a relief and confirmed the carrier had received the nod to land in the United States after a gruelling approval process.

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. "It will determine the future of KQ and also shows the determination that KQ has to return to being the pride of Africa", he said.

The airline claims to be the first to offer direct services from East Africa to the US. Passengers on the flights - billed to be fastest connection between East Africa and the U.S. - will pay Sh89,000 and Sh257,634 introductory fares for an economy and Premier World tickets respectively.

The national carrier said it expected the flights between Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and New York's JFK Airport to play a critical role in returning it profit making territory. It will land in NY the next day at 6.30 AM.

The flight duration will be 15 hours east bound and 14 hours west bound and the airline hopes to capitalise on multi-national traffic. "This is a reduction from the current flight time of over 22 hours, including lengthy layovers", said Mikosz.

The airline will operate its state of the art Boeing 787 Dreamliner with a capacity of 234 passengers.

Then the US Department of Transportation issued the permit for direct flights on September 5, 2017.

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

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

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

The airline is counting on the tourism, with the USA being a key source market of vacationers, as well as opportunities to Kenyan businesses accorded by the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) to sustain the flights.

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

Kenya Airways was is 2017 named Africa's Leading Airline of the year at the World Travel Awards gala ceremony held in Kigali, Rwanda.

He added that the airline had confidence in the route, saying "we would not embark on this if we were not confident that it will work".

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