Kenya has now become the first East African Nation to operate a direct flight to the United States of America.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and other officials answered present at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport to flag off Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner as it departed for the United States.
The aircraft left the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Sunday, October 28 at 10:30 am touched down at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Monday.
Flights between Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York is expected to last 15 hours eastbound and 14 hours westbound cutting off nearly 8 hours from original flight duration.
This recent development comes as a relief to US passengers who prior to this had to use connecting flights through Europe or Middle East airports which took more than 24 hours.
KENYA AIRWAYS COULD SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH THROUGH ITS TOURISM SECTOR
Kenya recorded more than 20% increase in revenue from its tourism sector in 2017 which stood at $1.2 billion.
According to reports released by the Ministry of Tourism, travel from the US grew by 17% and totaled 114,507 arrivals, which made the US one of the country’s biggest tourism markets.
However, used as strategy to attract tourism traffic from the world to Kenya and Africa, the airline hopes its new market will boost revenue by 10% in 2019
This is due to the fact that the flights will up growth opportunities and markets for travelers between the two regions as tour operators will have to capitalize on the high number of tourist visitors traveling from the USA to Kenya which currently stand at 100,000 visitors per year.
US TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMISSION (TSA) GRANTS FLIGHT AUTHORIZATION
The US Transportation Security Admission (TSA), recently issued the Last Point of Departure (LPD) confirmation, which granted the airlines permission to land in New York
Kenya Airways which is a member of the SkyTeam frequent-flier alliance received such clearance two weeks after Uhuru arrived the country after a remarkable trip to the US.
This marks a remarkable success for the airlines after prolonged efforts were made by the Kenyan authorities to get approval for non-stop flights to the United States. Consequently, restrictions from non-stop commercial flights from Kenya imposed on it due to security concerns were lifted last year.
KENYAN AIRWAYS BOUNCE BACK AFTER FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES
Kenya’s national airline, Kenya Airways recorded a loss of KSh 4 billion after tax in the second half of 2018 which amounted to about 30% drop as compared to the KSh 5.6 billion loss reported during the same period in 2017.
Among major challenges, the carrier highlighted fuel price instability as one of the major challenges which hampers the smooth function of its activities.
As a recovery plan, the Airways launched 26 more flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to other destinations across Africa and Europe. It added two additional weekly night flights to Amsterdam and two extra days to Paris between July and August 2018. Also, flights to Accra, Ghana, and Freetown, Sierra Leone were also increased.
AFRIC Editorial Article .