Kenya Airways CEO sees 10 pct revenue bump from direct USA flights


East Africa-based Ethiopian Airlines operates nonstop flights from the U.S. east coast on westbound flights returning to Addis Ababa.

"This is an exciting moment for us".

KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz, however, said both KQ and JKIA had received the critical approvals and added that the remaining requirements would be met as the airline sets up the route.

Kenya Airways was is 2017 named Africa's Leading Airline of the year at the World Travel Awards gala ceremony held in Kigali, Rwanda. The opening of the United States destination completes an essential piece for Kenya Airways' network, cementing its position as one of the leading African carriers.

"With over 40 American multinationals located in Nairobi and many more across Africa, the launch of daily flights is expected to further spur trade between America and Africa", the statement announcing the launch of the ticket sales reads.

Direct flights from JKIA to New York JFK will reduce the time flight from 25 hours to about 15 hours.

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Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph said that the flights will symbolize the comeback for the airline that has been making losses for the past few years.

The carrier, which is 7.8 percent owned by Air France KLM (), has started taking bookings for the flights to and from NY that will carry 234 passengers each way on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane.

The airline will be conducting a daily flight between Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. It will land in NY the next day at 6.30 AM. "This is a reduction from the current flight time of over 22 hours, including lengthy layovers", said Mikosz.

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. Mikosz revealed the carrier will continue to modernise its fleet though its 32 aircraft are some of the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircrafts.

A business class ticket on the other hand retails for about Sh258,000.

The announcement comes a day after the Interior Minister Fred Matiangi, Transport CS James Macharia and Tourism CS Najib Balala carried out an impromptu inspection tour of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.