President Uhuru flags off first Kenya airways direct flight to the USA

Boeing B787-8 (B788) Dreamliner (5Y-KZE) christened "The Zambezi River" will be the first flight (KQ002) to New York/Courtesy

The first Kenya Airways non-stop flight to New York departed from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 10.55pm last night.
Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner (5Y-KZE) christened “The Zambezi River” flight KQ002 is scheduled to land at JF Kennedy Airport today at 6.55am (1.55 pm Kenyan Time).
The return leg (14-hours) flight KQ003 will depart JFK at 12:25pm on Monday and get to Nairobi at 10:55am on Tuesday.
According to the national carrier, Kenya Airways, the timings were set to allow connections to and from 40 African destinations.
Two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and an extended crew of 4 pilots and 13 flight attendants on each leg will operate the flights with 85 tonnes of fuel loaded one way.
The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner has a capacity of 234 passengers – 30 in Business Class.
“Our New York dreams finally come true. Today, we launch our non-stop flights to New York,” Kenya Airways posted on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
The inaugural direct flights make Kenya the first East African country and the eighth in Africa to operate direct flights to the US.
In Africa, only South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Senegal and Morocco make direct flights to US.
The inaugural flight was highly awaited since Kenya’s approval for Category One status by the US Federal Aviation Administration in April 2017, and JKIA’s elevation to the status of a Last Point of Departure.
For the tourism sector, the direct flights are expected to have Kenya in Americans’ bucket list and increase the number of tourists by 50 per cent to 169,364 in June 2019.
The direct flights will also open up the East Africa region, with travellers from Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mauritius, Rwanda and Ethiopia accessing the US through Nairobi.
The inaugural direct flights will see Kenya become the first East African country and the eighth in Africa to operate direct flights to the US.

In Africa, only South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Senegal and Morocco make direct flights to US.

The inaugural flight has been highly awaited since Kenya’s approval for Category One status by the US Federal Aviation Administration in April 2017, and JKIA’s elevation to the status of a Last Point of Departure.

For the tourism sector, the direct flights are expected to have Kenya in Americans’ bucket list and increase the number of tourists by 50 per cent to 169,364 in June 2019.

The direct flights will also open up the East Africa region, with travellers from Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mauritius, Rwanda and Ethiopia accessing the US through Nairobi.

The journey to grant JKIA the green light has been fraught with security regulatory checks that have seen the international airport undergo assessments and audits since 2008 when the two countries signed open-skies agreement to allow direct flights.

In February last year, it attained category one status from the Federal Aviation Administration to grant it direct flights to the US, but further underwent a security audit last October to determine security preparedness.

Another audit in May showed the airport attained 78.5 per cent status rating, above the global average of 62 per cent International Civil Aviation level.

Two young Kenyan innovators, Shirlene Nafula and Evans Wadongo, will also be among the 234 passengers after the State gave them tickets.

CNN journalist Richard Quest, has been in the country awaiting the flight and will also be on board.

History made as Uhuru flags off direct Kenya Airways flights to the USA.

History made as Uhuru flags off direct Kenya Airways flights to the USA.

Posted by DAILY NATION on Sunday, October 28, 2018

Kasozi Nasser
About Kasozi Nasser 642 Articles
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