Kenya Airways to resume daily direct flights to US

One of Kenya Airways plane when it landed from Kigali, Rwanda during the launch the resumption of the International flights at JKIA on August 1,2020 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Players in the tourism industry have welcomed the news that Kenya Airways (KQ) will resume daily flights on the New York route starting in December.

The national carrier cited a spike in forward bookings for the festive month prompting its decision for the daily flights from  Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The airline had cut the flight frequency on the route to three per week from five in February after demand subsided following last year’s festive season.

The high demand is a positive signal for the tourism sector, for which the US remains the largest overseas source market accounting for 16 per cent of the 870,465 arrivals into the country last year. "As a result of this development by the national carrier, we are seeing the Open Sky policy being evidently more imminent than ever," said Diani Reef beach hotel managing director Bobby Kamani who is also a director at the Kenya Tourism Board.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer Sam Ikwaye termed the move as extremely good news for the tourism industry.

"Any destination needs accessibility for it to be experienced. More flights will mean more business. We remain optimistic that together with this news, the open skies policy will more likely support and fast-track our recovery efforts," Dr Ikwaye said.

Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) Chairman Victor Shitakah said it was exciting to have the national carrier fully play its part in economic recovery by providing seamless air connectivity between Kenya and the US.

"America has always been one of Kenya's top tourism source markets, "Shitakah said.