LONDON – Kenya Airways has launched operations to the United States with nonstop flights between Nairobi and New York (JFK), starting a new era of direct flights between Kenya and the United States. The New York flights operate on a daily basis with the airline’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, offering a capacity of over 85,000 seats per year, on average.
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At an event to commemorate the inaugural JFK flight, Kenya Airways Chairman of the Board Michael Joseph stated that new U.S flights to Atlanta and Washington could begin in “the near future,” hinting at additional American route launches.
Airways got in touch with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for a comment, and their response from Air Service Director, Elliott Paige, featured no elements of denial.
“Atlanta would welcome our first African carrier in decades. We are in investigative mode discussing the potential of the flight with relevant parties. We always want new services to be successful,” Paige said.
To help attract Kenya Airways, the City of Atlanta plans to utilize the ATL Air Service Incentive Program (ASIP).
“We will do whatever we can to make that happen including offering a third tier air service incentive program which includes a waiver of landing fees for up to 24 months and $50,000 marketing support,”
“Plus we offer a variety of promotion via joint social media programs with new airlines. We are watching their progress into the US market,” he said.
The City of Atlanta has had success in recent years in attracting foreign carriers to the “World’s Most Travelled Airport.”
At an airport swarmed by Delta Air Lines tails, birds of different feathers including Virgin Atlantic, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Aeromexico, and Westjet have all begun, or intend, to commence service to Atlanta under to ASIP program.
With a widebody fleet consisting of nine787-8 Dreamliners (one
With a projected flight-time of over 13 hours, Airways projects that Kenya will choose to operate the 787-8 on its potential Atlanta and Washington routes.
As a SkyTeam member and codeshare partners with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways would be able to connect passengers onto hundreds of flights from ATL.
While a route to Nairobi would be a major victory for ATL, it would not be the airport’s first route to Africa.
Already, Delta operates daily flights to Johannesburg, South Africa with the 777-200LR, as well as Lagos, Nigeria with the A330-200.
Prior to Delta launching Johannesburg, the route was operated by Star Alliance member, South African Airways.
From Washington-Dulles, Kenya Airways would be the third African carrier to operate flights from the United States’ capital city. Already, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines fly to IAD.
Overall, it seems that after many years of instability within the African aviation, Kenya Airways is leading the way back to maturity.
It is also showing that the African market, not just inside aviation but outside too, is beginning to thrive, and this industry provides a lot of positive contribution towards that and will do for years to come.