Ethiopian Airlines has launched three weekly flights to John F Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York at a time when Kenya Airways plans to increase its frequency to seven days a week on the route.
The airline’s move will heighten competition ahead of the summer season in the US, which will see a lot of passengers ply the route.
The airline, which will make a stopover in Abidjan, currently operates four weekly flights to Newark in New York, via Lome.
“It gives me a great pleasure to launch flights to John F Kennedy Airport, our second station in New York in addition to Newark, connecting the North America’s gateway with our extended network of more than 120 destinations globally,” said Ethiopian Airlines chief executive officer Tewolde Gebre Mariam.
“The US is one of our most important markets owing to the presence of a large African diaspora and the promising multi-faceted relations between Africa and the USA. Hence, the new service is a significant addition to our expanding network and offers better connectivity for African and US passengers.”
He said this new service catalyses trade, tourism, investment and people-to-people relations between Africa and the United States.
With the new JFK flight route, Ethiopian Airlines will now be serving 24 weekly flights between Africa and North America. JFK is the sixth busiest airport in the United States and an international gateway into North America.
Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ started the New York route last year in October and it was banking on it to rake in more revenue.
KQ chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz said in April that the New York route was a strategic one for the airline and that they were firmly committed to it as they geared up for Summer 2019 season which is a high-flying time. Kenya Airways had started with a daily flight to New York when it launched the direct flight to the US last year, but this was later reduced to five.
The airline has however announced that it would be increasing its frequency to New York to seven days a week.
KQ signed a codes sharing deal with Delta Airlines in April to ease the movement of passengers who uses the carrier to the US to connect easily in 11 cities in America.
“This is expected to open more opportunities for travellers to take advantage of this route during this high season,” the CEO said.
The code-share agreement is also in line with Kenya Airways’ broader strategy to assert its presence and expand connectivity across Africa.
while opening opportunities for tourism, trade and investment.