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Kenya Airways announces its inaugural direct flight to US

12 January 2018

Kenya Airways Group Managing Director Sebastian Mikosz told a media briefing in Nairobi that they will begin selling tickets for the inaugural flight on Thursday.

Direct flights to the United States will significantly reduce the time taken to move cargo between the U.S. and East Africa; from seven days to as little as a day. "We are honored to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya and East Africa", Mikosz said.

A return flight will then leave NY at 12.25 pm the same day and touch the ground in Nairobi at 10.55 am the following day. The flight will fly overnight in the westbound direction- unusual for transatlantic flights-departing Nairobi at 11:25 p.m. before arriving at JFK at 6:25 a.m. the following day.

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

Up until now, numerous carriers have provided one-stop service from all across East Africa to the U.S. Gulf carriers all do so through their global superhubs in Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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

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The US remains Kenya's biggest tourist source market and KQ will be banking on the number of tourists as well as businessmen to make the route profitable.

The Kenya Tourism Board has lauded Kenya Airways for the move, saying it was a big win for the sector in the country.

The flight will connect Nairobi, Kenya's capital city and one of Africa's busiest and business-heavy cities, to one of the world's premier business hubs, New York City, which has not been possible until recently. The airline says it hopes the new route to the USA will stimulate trade between the two nations.

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The firm recently announced a Sh3.8 billion half-year net loss for the business but hopes various initiatives will return it to profitability.

Kenya Airways announces its inaugural direct flight to US