Kenyans living in Minnesota can now fly with ease to Nairobi after the national carrier signed a code-sharing agreement with the US-based JetBlue airline to have passengers traveling to JKIA connect through New York.
Minnesota is one of the cities in the US with the largest number of Kenyans, and the new agreement will give them a seamless connection to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
The move comes as a boost to the carrier just ahead of the summer season when a lot of tourists travel to Kenya for holidays.
KQ #ticker:KQ , which launched direct flights to New York in 2018, departs JFK at 1.45 pm on the days that it has flights on the route, making connections from Minnesota hard for passengers wanting to connect to Nairobi.
The agreement will see Kenya Airways passengers in Minnesota book their flights to Kenya directly and fly out of Minnesota to get on the nonstop JFK to Nairobi flight and will collect their luggage at JKIA.
“That’s great for us and I’m happy to see our partnership with Jetblue,” KQ chairman Michael Joseph told the Business Daily.
“The partnership will also allow JetBlue passengers to book a through ticket to Nairobi and enjoy seamless connections to the rest of KQ’s destinations.” said the airline.
JetBlue Airways is a low-cost US carrier headquartered in Long Island, New York, and based out of John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Ranked by passenger traffic, JetBlue is among the leading low-cost carriers worldwide as well as the sixth-largest domestic airline in the US, accounting for 5.3 percent of the domestic market in 2021.
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 the JKIA.
Kenya Airways cut New York flights to three a week from five last month on the back of low demand following an end to a peak season in December last year.
The airline said the number of passengers on the route had dropped with a reduction in cabin factor, forcing them to remove two flights to JF Kennedy, which had been introduced in November last year.
The carrier had projected 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 source of visitors.
The direct flight from New York cut the journey to 15 hours on the long haul route tapped as part of an effort to revive the airline’s fortunes. The carrier had forecast its daily direct flights to the US would boost annual revenues by more than 10 percent in 2019 and 2020.