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Kenya Airways Marks 5 Years of Non-Stop Flights to New York

Since then, over 300,000 passengers and 6,000 tonnes of cargo on 1,700 flights have been airlifted, covering about 72,000km

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Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), is celebrating five years since becoming the first and only carrier to fly non-stop from its hub in Nairobi to New York and linking East Africa and the United States of America.

The inaugural flight between Nairobi and New York was on 28th October 2018. Since then, over 300,000 passengers and 6,000 tonnes of cargo on 1,700 flights have been airlifted, covering approximately 72,000 kilometres.

The expanded codeshare partnership between Kenya Airways and Delta Airlines now offers customers additional travel options within the U.S. and increased flying opportunities within Africa, expanding customers’ travel options to more 31 destinations in Africa and 57 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

“It has been an incredible 5 years of connecting our guests between Nairobi and New York,” Kenya Airways Group Managing Director, and CEO Allan Kilavuka said.

This route is critical to Kenya Airways as it serves as the fastest and most vital connection for travellers within the travel and tourism industry, the business community, and governments of both countries. “We look forward to the continuation of providing convenient onward connections for our guests to various destinations in Africa and the U.S. and actively contributing to the socio-economic development of Kenya and the broader African continent,” Mr Kilavuka said.

The Nairobi–New York route is strategic for Kenya as it provides the East Africa region a gateway to the United States of America and the greater North America region for social and economic growth through trade, education, medical, sports, and leisure travel. The New York–Nairobi route in turn has opened the East Africa region for tourism, trade and investments.

According to data from the U.S. Embassy, Kenya’s largest export market is the U.S. and in 2022, Kenya exported $890 million in goods to the U.S. while the U.S. exported around $600 million in goods to Kenya, underscoring the importance of connectivity between the two regions. The US is also a key tourist source market and in 2022, over 200,000 visitors from the United States arrived in Kenya.

To support the growing demand for travel between the Nairobi–New York route, Kenya Airways will introduce daily flights from 1st December 2023 for the festive season, providing customers with more flexibility and travel options.

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Bill Yaura is a Correspondent for Business Today. He can be reached on email: [email protected]
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