Kenya Airways has completed 594 non-stop flights between Nairobi and New York, achieving a capacity of 75%.
During the first year, the national carrier ferried over 105 000 passengers, and continues to establish strategic partnerships to provide options for more seamless connections between Africa and US.
The airline was the first in East Africa to fly non-stop to a US city and launched the NBO-JFK route on October 28, 2018. Since then Kenya Airways has signed 15 codeshare agreements that have seen it steadily penetrate the highly competitive US market.
“The US and the American continent continue to be an essential piece of the puzzle in our network. There have been challenges in the last year but overall, the decision to launch our flights on this route has been rewarding,” said Sebastian Mikosz, MD and CE of Kenya Airways.
The airline has been flying the route daily during the peak season and five times weekly during low season.
“We have maintained consistency in our flights and we will be looking to increase the partnerships in order to fully realise the potential and gains of this investment. We are strategically positioned in Terminal 4 at JFK, which has been critical to our success as a lone African carrier in that space,” Mikosz added.
The US is one of Kenya’s top tourist source markets, with about 95 000 tourists visiting Kenya every year. Kenya Airways is pursuing plans to take up partnership opportunities that ensure seamless connectivity to some of Kenya’s world-renowned tourism destinations such as Maasai Mara.
The NBO-JFK route has also been an attraction for travellers connecting to other areas in the region, thereby growing passenger numbers on the airline’s network in Africa. Kenya Airways offered connections to 34 African countries from the US during the year.
The top traffic sources from Africa were Nigeria (16%), Uganda (15%), South Africa (15%), Tanzania (12%) and Congo (8%).
The Nairobi-New York flight time is 15 hours (14 hours and 10 minutes for the return flight). The route is operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with 30 seats in business class seats and 207 in economy.
To celebrate the first anniversary, the airline has launched a global promotion offering customers a 30% discount on tickets to all destinations across its network.