Direct flights to the U.S. to create more jobs at JKIA

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Rob Finlayson

Kenya Airways daily direct flights to NY will boost the uptake of Kenya's products by providing faster access to the United States market.

Kenya Airways introduces historic daily flights to the US.

"This is the best New Year gift our premier carrier, the Pride of Africa, has given to us Kenyans living here who make numerous trips to Kenya for different reasons". 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.

Subsequent flights for the inaugural flight has started selling for KSH 87,000 ($869).

KQ Chairman Michael Joseph has termed this move as an important milestone as the airline moves back to sustain its profits after financial restructuring.

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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".

"We would not embark on this if we were not confident that it will work. It will be profitable for us".

This even as the airline and JKIA await the necessary approvals by the U.S. security and transport authorities, including designation of the airport as a last point of departure and the airline receiving air operator certification.

"The opening of the U.S. destination completes an essential piece for Kenya Airways' network, cementing its position as one of the leading African carriers", Mikosz said in a press briefing.

The airline was in September granted approval to operate flights in the US by the department of transportation while JKIA was earlier in 2017 granted a Category One status by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the airport upgraded its security features.

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USA -bound passengers from Kenya must now change planes in Europe or the Gulf on a journey that can take 20 hours or more. The 15-hour flight will operate onboard a B787 Dreamliner, with 234 seats.

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.

With more than 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.

Between January and October 2017 over 95,000 tourists visited Kenya, a 20 percent increase in traffic every year for the past two years.

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