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Finally KQ to fly Nairobi-New York direct

Finally KQ to fly Nairobi-New York direct

Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz (centre) speaks during the launch of non-stop flight between Nairobi and NY.

Kenya Airways said on Thursday it will launch a non-stop flight from Nairobi to NY and has already started selling tickets for the inaugural flight which is scheduled for October 28.

He said the flights will see Kenya Airways employ more pilots and more crew to facilitate the functionality of the new flight route launched. The flight will depart every day from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi at 23:25 arriving at JFK airport in NY at 06:25 the following day.

It is said to be the first non-stop flight between East Africa and the United States of America. It will land in NY the next day at 6.30 AM. The flight time is blocked at 15 hours westbound and 14 hours and 30 minutes in the eastbound direction. 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.

"We canceled our flights to Hong Kong and Hanoi in order to have capacity to use the aircrafts to fly to New York", Mr Mikosz said. 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.

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The direct flight to the USA from Kenya is not the cheapest but the most convenient alternative to travel to the leading Western hub.

The chief executive noted the U.S. is Kenya's top tourist source market, with 95,771 people having visited between January and Oct 2017.

Devan Jobanputra, director of Travel 'n Style in Kenya, says the direct flight will undoubtedly increase awareness and is likely to boost premium travel to the country.

Also expected to reap from the flights include horticulture and flower exporters and manufacturers, especially textile exporters eligible to export to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) terms.

Kenya Airways was is 2017 named Africa's Leading Airline of the year at the World Travel Awards gala ceremony held in Kigali, Rwanda. 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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