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12 January 2018, 10:02 | Erica Roy
Top CNN business anchor Richard Quest
Kenya Airways will launch daily Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta-New York JFK services on October 28, becoming the first airline to offer a nonstop flight between East Africa and the US.
Economy class fliers will pay Sh89,000 both ways, CEO Sebastian Mikosz announced at the launch on Thursday, adding travellers can start making advance online bookings.
The flight is also expected to increase tourism in Kenya, with the USA being its largest source market for tourists.
A Kenya Airways' aircraft, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will be leaving Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi daily at 11.25 pm and reach John F Kennedy International Airport in NY at 6.25 am the next day.
The return flight will depart at 12:25 p.m. and arrive back in Kenya at 10:55 a.m. the day after.
Richard Quest reporting on Kenya's new aviation development
"The flights will be the fastest connection from East Africa to NY, with 15 hours duration eastbound and 14 hours westbound". Though the flight will take upwards of 15 hours, in some cases, it will afford passengers much more time at their origin and/or destination. Indications of the direct flights could be allowed came to light in February previous year when Kenya was granted Category One status after officials from the US Federal Aviation Administration gave approval for non-stop direct flights between the two countries.
The airline and JKIA are however yet to receive all necessary approvals by the U.S. security and transport authorities, including JKIA being designated as a last point of departure while the airline is yet to receive an air operator certification. It is the largest tourist source market, and in the period to October 2017 accounted for close to 100 000 tourists to Kenya.
Kenya Airways was is 2017 named Africa's Leading Airline of the year at the World Travel Awards gala ceremony held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The national carrier also said the new flight route to the U.S. will boost the country's economy as it would see tourism and trade rise between the two countries.
Jim Holden, president of Holden Safaris, said, "Safaris in Kenya are very competitively priced, and now with direct flight connections, the destination offers an even more attractive safari package". Mikosz revealed the carrier will continue to modernise its fleet though its 32 aircraft are some of the youngest in Africa.
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