Joseph Kinuthia, who was in charge of the maiden Kenya Airways Flight to New York last year, has retired after devoting 42 years of service to Kenya Airways.
Kinuthia officially touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for his final flight, KQ003 at 8:54am on February 19th, just a day to his birthday.
He was accompanied on arrival from US by the same crew members that were aboard the inaugural flight to New York on October 28 last year with a water cannon salute as he taxied to the ramp.
The 65-year-old pilot was moved to tears after his family, fellow pilots and members of Kenya Airways staff congratulated him on a job well done.
Captain Kinuthia offered up thanks to God and Kenya Airways for being a good employer who gave him an opportunity to grow in the industry.
“I could not help, I had to shed tear,” Kinuthia said with mixed emotions.
“The thing I appreciate most about this company is that it has given me the opportunity to do what I love for the last 42 years. I also thank Kenya Airways for being a good employer who gave me an opportunity to grow in the industry and train many pilots. We have had a good work relationship," he added.
In a series of tweet, Kenya Airways also showered praises on him as a diligent worker who served with the utmost professionalism;
“Today we bid farewell to a long serving and loyal employee Cpt. Joseph Kinuthia. Thank you for the 42 years of unwavering service, commitment, resilience and sacrifice that you gave to the KQ family #captkinuthiaKQ” Kenya Airways tweeted.
Despite his exceptional performance record, Kinuthia said that he has plenty of plans in place among them, training young pilots.
Kinuthia has been flying since he was 21-years-old and has done 25,000 hours of actual flying.
He has also done another 15,000 hours training in the simulator.
Late last year in an interview with the Standard, Kinuthia recalled some of the most powerful people he has flown around over the years;
‘’I have flown former President Daniel Moi many times. I flew him to Belgrade when Yugoslavia was one unit through KQ’s Boeing 707, then I flew him to Beijing and then to Auckland,” Kinuthia told The Standard.
“Probably, the crowing of my flying is when I flew Pope John Paul II when he came to Nairobi. It was an extraordinary thing he did because all the time the Pope flies Alitalia. John Paul II decided to break tradition because he was doing an African tour.
“From Rome to Nigeria he flew Alitalia. Then from Lagos to South Africa he flew Nigerian Airways (the company later collapsed). From South Africa, he flew South African Airlines to Nairobi and from Nairobi, I was lucky to take him back home,” he added.