East Africa anticipates benefits from Kenya - US direct flights

New York firmly on radar as KQ opens ticket sales

He added that Business Class fliers will part with Sh257,634 round-trip, although the tickets are subject to approval by the government.

Kenya Airways flight will be the fastest connection from East Africa to NY, with 15 hours duration eastbound and 14 hours westbound and will be operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Flights will depart daily from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 11.25 pm arriving at John F Kennedy International Airport in NY at 6.25 am the following day.

Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph said that the flights will symbolize the comeback for the airline that has been making losses for the past few years.

The flight duration is 15 hours eastbound and 14 hours westbound.

Economy fliers on Qatar Airways will pay Sh93,000 from Nairobi to NY but they will stop at Doha for two and a half hours and the trip will take 22 hours and 30 minutes long.

The Dreamliners have capacity to carry 234 total passengers, 30 in premier world and 204 in economy class. It will have four pilots, 12 flight attendants and 85 tonnes of fuel loaded one way.

"We are excited to announce the opening of ticket sales for the only non-stop daily flight from Nairobi to the United States of America", said KQ chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz.

The airline is counting on the tourism, with the U.S. being a key source market of vacationers, as well as opportunities to Kenyan businesses accorded by the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) to sustain the flights.

"This marks a 20 per cent increase in traffic every year for the past two years", he said.

"It is an essential piece of the puzzle that was missing". Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chief executive officer, Dr Betty Radier, welcomed the development saying anticipation is high the number of tourists visiting Kenya from the USA will grow.

"This is an exciting moment for us".

Najib Balala, Kenya's secretary of tourism, said the flight will position Kenya as the gateway to Sub-Saharan Africa for leisure and business travel. Passengers on the flights - billed to be fastest connection between East Africa and the USA - will pay Sh89,000 and Sh257,634 introductory fares for an economy and Premier World tickets respectively.

"All airport staff will undergo customer care training at Utalii College, a seven-day crash programme to ensure we improve service delivery".

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