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.
Kenya Airways operates a further 40 routes within Africa from Nairobi. The flight will depart daily from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi at 2325 and arrive at JFK airport in NY at 0625 the following day.
This makes Kenya Airways the first airline to offer a non-stop flight between East Africa and the United States of America. The 15-hour flight will operate onboard a B787 Dreamliner, with 234 seats.
Flight time between Nairobi and NY will be reduced from over 22 hours to 15 hours. It will land in NY the next day at 6.30 AM.
"First of all [the direct flight] is going to create more jobs in Kenya Airways because we will definitely hire more pilots and more crew".
Tour operators say that the flight marks a milestone for the entire region and is expected to considerably boost travel from the U.S.
American firms with a deep presence include IBM, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft and Cisco. It is the largest tourist source market, and in the period to October 2017 accounted for close to 100 000 tourists to Kenya.
The US route completes an essential piece on KQ network which flies to various Africa, Europe, Middle-East, Indian sub-continent and Asia destinations "It fits within our strategy to attract corporate and high-end tourism traffic from the world to Kenya and Africa".
It is anticipated that the new form of easier travel to the USA will directly impact Kenya's economy through direct and indirect employment, as well as boosting trade between the two nations.
The firm recently announced a Sh3.8 billion half-year net loss for the business but hopes various initiatives will return it to profitability.