Transport

KQ reduces New York flights on lower demand

kq

A Kenya Airways plane at the JKIA in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ has cut New York flights to three a week from five on low demand following an end to a peak season in December last year.

The airline said the number of passengers on the route has dropped, forcing it to remove two flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport, which had been introduced in November last year.

The airline had enjoyed a good season, recording average bookings per flight of over 70 percent in December last year on increased traffic on the route.

“We are now in low season and demand for travel on the route has gone down. We have had to reduce the number of flights from five to three on the New York route starting January 10,” said the airline in response to Business Daily queries.

Outbound flights to the US will be on Tuesday and Saturday.

Last year, Parliament backed a Cabinet decision to amend the air services agreement between Kenya and America that will see Kenya Airways expand its route network beyond New York, the only city where it currently flies.

Kenya signed the deal with the US on February 5, 2020, proposing to revise an earlier agreement inked in Washington DC on June 8, 2008.

The carrier had in September cut flights to New York to twice weekly after demand failed to grow since resuming operations on the route in November last year, following fresh Covid-19 restrictions.

The carrier had forecast its daily direct flights to the US would boost annual revenues by more than 10 percent in 2019 and 2020.

The long-haul route aimed to encourage more business and tourist travel, with the US being one of Kenya’s biggest sources of visitors. The US route is one of the crucial destinations for the national carrier as it plays a major role in connecting travellers who transit through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Kenya Airways started direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to 15 hours on the long-haul route tapped as part of an effort to revive the airline’s fortunes.

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