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KQ eyes New York in debut direct flights

A Kenya Airways plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Kenya Airways plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ is eyeing New York as its first destination when it starts direct flights to the US next year.

The national carrier sees the city as a convenient East Coast aviation hub to mark its entry into the US, before spreading its wings across the world’s biggest economy.

The airline, which last week received regulatory approval to operate direct flights to the US, also estimates that it will move 60,000 passengers in its first year of operation on the route.

“We are currently focusing on New York due to the importance of point to point traffic with Nairobi. However, we are also studying other options on the US territory as we may expand our network in the US in the near future,” Kenya Airways (KQ) Commercial Director Vincent Coste said in an interview.

In its submissions to the United States government, KQ had said that it plans to launch direct flights in April 2018, although the company has since indicated June 2018 as a more likely date.

New York’s JFK Airport was the United State’s fourth-busiest airport in 2016, according to Airports Council International.

The city is the country’s economic hub and being on the East Coast, it would be easier to reach relative to other hubs such as Atlanta International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, and LAX on the West Coast.

KQ received a foreign air carrier permit on September 5th from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). 

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