Kenya Airways CEO sees 10 percent revenue bump from direct United States flights


CEO Sebastian Mikosz says ticket sales for the non-stop flights between Nairobi and NY are opening on Thursday.

Speaking to the Nation, a number of Kenyans in the diaspora hailed the plan, noting that it will save them money and time.

Kenya Airways will be using its vast African connecting routes to pull passengers to fly direct to the US.

Kenya Airways introduces historic daily flights to the US.

With effect from today, the national carrier will start selling tickets for the inaugural flight, which is scheduled for October 28th this year. This is expected to significantly reduce flight time between these two cities from more than 22 hours to 15 hours.

The national carrier said it expected the flights between Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and New York's JFK Airport to play a critical role in returning it profit making territory.

"This is going to increase 2019 (revenues) by roughly 10 percent", Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Mikosz told reporters at an event to launch the new 15-hour route.

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"This is a symbol of the comeback of Kenya Airways", Chairman Michael Joseph said.

The carrier, which is 7.8 percent owned by Air France KLM (AIRF.PA), has started taking bookings for the flights to and from NY that will carry 234 passengers each way on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane.

Kenya Airways will become the first airline to offer a nonstop flight between East Africa and the United States of America.

Kenya Airways (KQ) will commence direct daily flights from Nairobi to NY in October 2018. The announcement cements Kenya as a top investment hub in East Africa and firmly positions JKIA as the region's aviation hub.

Most American companies have their headquarters in Nairobi and the new development is seen to be a plus to the corporates which include Coca Cola, Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft, IBM, P&G, Intel, IMF, Wrigley, Honeywell, AIG, Cisco, Google, Cargil among others. USA is now Kenya's top tourism source market, commanding a market share of 12.2 percent of total arrivals to Kenya as at October 2017.

The airline already serves Africa, Europe, Middle-East, Indian sub-continent and Asia. Mikosz revealed the carrier will continue to modernise its fleet though its 32 aircraft are some of the youngest in Africa.

Kenya Airways celebrated 40 years of operations in January 2017 and was named Africa Leading Airline 2017 by the World Travel Awards.