Kenya Airways resumes daily direct flights to the US

One of Kenya Airways planes as it landed during the start of the resumption of international flights at JKIA August 1, 2020 in Kigali, Rwanda [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Tourism industry stakeholders have welcomed the news that Kenya Airways (KQ) will resume daily flights en route to New York from December.

The national carrier cited a surge in advance bookings for the festive month that prompted its decision to operate daily flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The airline had reduced the frequency of flights on the route to three a week from five in February after demand slacked after the bank holiday last year.

The high demand bodes well for the tourism sector, for which the US remains the largest foreign source market, accounting for 16 percent of last year’s 870,465 arrivals. “As a result of this national airline development, we see that the open sky policy appears to be imminent,” said Bobby Kamani, chief executive of Beach Hotel Diani Reef, who is also director of the Kenya Tourism Board.

Sam Ikwaye, executive director of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC Coast Branch), called the move extremely good news for the tourism industry.

“Every destination needs to be accessible so that it can be explored. More flights mean more business. We remain optimistic that the Open Skies policy, along with this news, will tend to support and expedite our recovery efforts,” said Dr. Ikwaye.

Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) Chairman Victor Shitakah said it is exciting to see the national airline fully playing its role in economic recovery by providing a seamless flight connection between Kenya and the United States.

“America has always been one of Kenya’s most important tourism source markets,” said Shitakah.

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