The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft christened “Magical Kenya” touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9.07 a.m. – nearly an hour and a half ahead of schedule on Tuesday.
The flight departed Nairobi for New York on Sunday, departed the American city on Monday at 8pm Kenyan time onto a much shorter flight that took approximately 12 hours to Nairobi – down from earlier estimated flight duration of 14 hours.
The flight, which had 234 passengers on board, has now made history by being the first direct, non-stop flight from East Africa to the United States of America (USA).
Making his keynote address soon after welcoming the maiden flight, Deputy President William Ruto hailed the flight as an historic milestone for tourism, trade and investment between Kenya and the USA.
Deputy President Ruto said,“Kenya Airways’ direct flight to the U.S. is an important milestone for Kenya as tourism destination considering that the U.S. is currently Kenya’s leading tourism source market with a market share of 12% of arrivals to Kenya. The direct flight will save travelers at least 7 hours of flying time, and thus provide a shorter, quicker and more affordable connection for tourists and business travelers coming to Kenya. This will substantially boost Kenya’s global profile as a tourism destination.”
Commenting on the significance of the national carrier’s direct flight to the US, KAA Chairman, Mr. Isaac Awuondo said, “Apart from cargo tonnage, we expect the direct flights to boost passenger traffic in and out of JKIA. We will now be in a position to compete with other African countries who have direct flights into the US for that lucrative market. We at KAA se a brighter future because of opportunity to recoup the investments we have made in improving the infrastructure.”
He added that the KQ direct flight to the USA will provide the impetus needed to spur innovation in packaging all the unique and authentic travel experiences that Kenya has to offer.