Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Kenya Airways CEO sees 10 percent revenue bump from direct U.S. flights

Kenya Airways CEO sees 10 percent revenue bump from direct U.S. flights

Kenyans working and living in the United States have expressed their excitement over plans by national carrier, Kenya Airways to launch direct flights to the New York City beginning October this year.

On Thursday, Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz said the direct flights from Kenya to the USA will also create indirect jobs for its suppliers.

The carrier, which is 7.8 percent owned by Air France KLM (AIRF.PA), 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 Kenya Tourism Board also termed the national carrier's direct flight to the U.S.as a welcome development as it is expected to accelerate growth of the tourism industry by contributing to increased tourist arrivals.

"First of all [the direct flight] is going to create more jobs in Kenya Airways because we will definitely hire more pilots and more crew".

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.

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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".

Dreamliner (234 passengers): 204 in Economy and the rest in Business Class. It will depart Jomo Kenyatta airport at 23:25, arriving at JFK airport at 06:25 the following morning, with return flights departing NY at 12:25 and landing in Nairobi at 10:55 the next day. From New-York it will depart at 12:25 landing at JKIA at 10:55 the following day. The announcement cements Kenya as a top investment hub in East Africa and firmly positions JKIA as the region's aviation hub.

The U.S.is now Kenya's top tourism source market, commanding a market share of 12.2 percent of total arrivals to Kenya as of October 2017.

"There are over 40 American multinationals located in Nairobi and many more across Africa".

Also expected to reap from the flights include horticulture and flower exporters and manufacturers, especially textile exporters eligible to export to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) terms. "Our guests are at the heart of everything we do at the airline and these two awards confirm our undeterred commitment to them".

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".

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