On 28th October 2018 Kenya Airways launched the inaugural direct flight from JKIA to JFK airport in New York City, United States. Kenya has become the seventh African country to have a direct flight from its borders to the United States. Previously the journey to the US would take an approximate of 21hours but the direct flight is expected to cut the travelling time between the two countries by almost a third to 15 hours.
It was a historic moment as the state-of-the-art plane Boeing 787 Dreamliner which has a passenger capacity of 234 rolled its wheels towards the runway to take off at around 2325hrs on Sunday night. The flight which will operate on a daily basis is expected to be the fastest connection to flight from East Africa to the US. Boeing 787 will be departing daily from the JKIA at 2325hrs and will be expected to arrive at the JFK Airport in New York at 0625hrs the following day. A return flight will be taking off at 1225hrs and will be expected to arrive at JKIA at 1055hrs. according to Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), the Westbound plane will take 14hours while the Eastbound one will take a maximum of 15hours.
The opening of East Africa is projected to contribute to Kenya’s economic growth by a good margin due to increased businesses and boosted levels of tourism. The flights to the west are expected to boost horticulture exports by ensuring that the perishable commodities such as flowers which Kenya greatly exports to the USA get to the market on time. This will in return translate to more foreign trade and later increased revenues.
Secondly, this direct flight will open up the market for many multinationals to set up their presence in East Africa and Africa at large. This will contribute to the creation of employment for the citizens of the countries where such multinationals will be set and thus help in solving the unemployment problem and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Thirdly, this flight will foster good relations between Kenya and USA and thus we expect the foreign exchange between Kenyan shilling and US Dollar to stabilize over time eliminating fluctuations and this will attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country.
In conclusion, we can say that this is a good move and will greatly contribute to Kenya’s economic growth. Kudos KQ