by David Karani
The inaugural Kenya Airways direct flight from Nairobi to New York touched down at the John F> Kennedy International Airport (JFK) shortly after 2pm on Monday.
The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner left the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for the US in a historic flight in Kenya’s aviation industry on Sunday night at about 11.20pm.
Speaking shortly before the departure, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that the direct flights will open up Kenya to the rest of the world.
“It is historic for Kenya’s aviation sector to witness the inaugural direct flight between Nairobi and New York finally take off. The direct air link between our country and the US present great opportunities in trade, tourism and people-to-people relations,” the president said in a tweet.
Kenya Airways becomes the first airline to offer a non-stop flight between East Africa and the US.
Normal flights from Kenya to the US take up to 22 hours, for the 11,849km distance between Nairobi and New York.
On the maiden flight to New York was the Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz, chairman Michael Joseph, US ambassador Robert Godec, Foreign affairs CS Monica Juma and her transport CS James Macharia.
In a Facebook message on Sunday evening, Kenya Airways termed the flight as a great milestone by becoming the first airline in East Africa to offer non-stop flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi to John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York.
“This flight to New York enhances Nairobi’s position as a convenient gateway to Africa. It will open up opportunities for investment, tourism and other business opportunities in Kenya and Africa,” Kenya ASirways said.
The airline said the direct flight was a major confidence boost to the economic wellbeing of the country and a positive signal for increased foreign direct investments.
“We aim to also boost our tourism traffic around the world to Kenya and Africa,” the airline added.