Kenya Airways expects its daily direct flights to the United States that it launches for the first time in October to boost annual revenue by 10 percent from 2019, Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Mikosz said on Thursday.
Henk Graaff, managing director of destination management company SW Africa, said the new flight is fantastic news for Kenya as well as for the entire East African region and the continent.
He said: "Winning these awards would not have been possible without the passion and dedication of the Kenya Airways team and the strong support from our guests".
The national carrier has already fulfilled one of the three requirements by the United States government to operate non-stop flights to NY city. We are honored to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya and East Africa.
The flight is scheduled to take 15 hours, a departure from the previous flight time of 22 hours including lengthy layovers passengers from JKIA had to cope with using connecting flights.
Kenya Airways operates a further 40 routes within Africa from Nairobi.
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 flight will depart daily from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi at 2325 and arrive at JFK airport in NY at 0625 the following day. From New-York it will depart at 12:25 landing at JKIA at 10:55 the following day. Its duration will be 15 hours eastbound and 14 hours westbound. Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chief executive officer, Dr Betty Radier, welcomed the development saying anticipation is high the number of tourists visiting Kenya from the U.S. will grow.
The airline already serves Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and cities in Asia.
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".
It continues to modernize its fleet with its 32 aircrafts being some of the youngest in Africa.