Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA & AGENCIES | The newly unveiled Kenya Airways non-stop daily flights between Nairobi and New York is set to open up the East African skies to the United States, making a milestone development in travel and tourism business in the region.
The carrier’s long-awaited inaugural flight was unveiled on October 28 at 11: PM a board 234 passengers, becoming the third African carrier to enter the US skies directly from their hubs.
Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways are the only other African carriers that have been granted Category One permit to access the US skies.
RwandAir, which has submitted application to directly fly to the United States, still awaits approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration.
Kenya Airways first flight between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and the JF Kennedy International Airport in New York comes more than a year since the US Federal Aviation Administration gave Kenya the Category One rating in February 2017.
Category One permit is issued to foreign countries or states that have demonstrated effective implementation of International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Standards with Recommended Aviation Practices.
Kenya Airways has dedicated two Dreamliner aircraft to the daily non-stop flights on the Nairobi to New York route made up of a night flight from Nairobi and a mid-day return flight from New York.
The carrier takes 15 hours to connect the two destinations, down from 17-28 hours using other carriers with connecting flights through their hubs.
This new development is expected to reduce over-reliance on foreign carriers to bring US visitors to the Eastern and Central African states through their hubs outside the region.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the new route will open up Kenya to the rest of the world.
“These flights are set to provide a seamless experience for business and leisure travellers alike. It will allow the world to taste Kenya’s diverse cultures and hospitality,” he said.
The carrier, which flies 53 destinations, 45 in Africa, charges Shs 3.3milion return ticket for an economy class and Shs 9.6million for a business class between two destinations.
It is historic for Kenya’s aviation sector to witness the inaugural direct flight between Nairobi and New York finally take off. The direct air link between our country and the US present great opportunities in trade, tourism and people-to-people relations #KQNBONYC pic.twitter.com/PfEF35jN4p
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) October 28, 2018