Kenya Airways has launched daily flights between Nairobi and New York in on Sunday, looking to open up East African skies to the United States, marking a milestone development in travel and tourism business between the East African states through air connection in Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
The long-awaited inaugural flight was launched mid-morning on Sunday, bringing the Kenyan air carrier among the fast growing and leading airlines from Africa to enter the US skies directly from the African cities.
Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways are the only African airlines registered in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa which have been granted Category One permit to access the US skies.
Rich in tourism, the Eastern and Central African states have been depending foreign air carriers to bring their visitors from the United States through connections in other states outside the region.
Kenya Airways had launched the first-ever direct flight between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and the JF Kennedy International Airport in New York after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Kenya the Category One rating in February 2017, paving the way for direct flights subject to other permits being received by the airport and the airline’s management.
Nairobi, the East African safari hub, will now be a key link between the East African Community (EAC) states and the United States, taking advantage of Kenya Airways and the fast growing tourism in Kenya.
Tourist stakeholders in Tanzania are looking to see a boost in their business. They hope that the Kenyan air carrier which operates four daily flights to Tanzania will add a value chain in tourism through quick connection to North American markets through Nairobi.
Kenyan and the United States safari companies have been marketing the East African tourist attractions soon after Kenya Airways received a green light to enter the US skies.
Kenya attracts more than 100,000 Americans tourists per year. Most of the tourists have been connecting their flights through Europe, Middle East, Ethiopia and South Africa.
With the launched Kenya Airways direct flights, travel time will be as short as 16 hours. Connection flights with stops in Europe or the Middle East have been counted to take 23 up to 28 hours.
The launched flight will as well, offer US tourists an opportunity to maximize their time visiting Kenya and East Africa’s diverse cultures, amazing wildlife and stunning scenery.
Kenya Airways has dedicated two Dreamliner aircraft to the daily flights on the Nairobi to New York route made up of a night flight from Nairobi and a mid-day return flight from New York.
Kenya Airways operates four daily flights to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, fiver to Entebbe in Uganda, four to Lusaka in Zambia and one more daily flight to Livingstone in Zambia.
Granting of the International Aviation Safety Assessment Category One permit was given to the Kenyan government in February, 2017, after a long journey that started way back in 2010 by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority looking for permission to enter the US skies.
Category One permit is issued and granted by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to foreign countries or states that have demonstrated effective implementation of International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Standards with Recommended Aviation Practices.
It allows a foreign country or state to establish through its national airline or nominated carriers, the direct flights to the USA.
Kenya Airways flies to 53 destinations worldwide both domestic and international flights connecting Nairobi to African cities of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Luanda, Cotonou, Gaborone, Ouagadougou, Bujumbura, Douala, Yaounde and Bangui in Africa.
Other African destinations the Airline plies are Moroni, Abidjan, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, Djibouti, Cairo, Malabo, Addis Ababa, Libreville, Accra, Kisumu, Malindi, Mombasa, Monrovia, Antananarivo, Blantyre, Mahe, Freetown, Johannesburg, Juba, Khartoum and many others.
The Airline’s flights outside Africa are Guangzhou, Bangkok, Mumbai, Paris, plus key European cities.
Established in 1977, Kenya Airways is a member of the Sky Team Alliance and is a leading African airline, carrying over four million passengers annually.
Kenya Airways operates a fleet consists of Boeing 787-8, Boeing B777-300ER, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-300 and Embraer 190 AR.