Christmas traffic forces Kenya Airways to resume daily non-stop flights to America

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Kenya Airways (KQ) has resumed daily nonstop flights between Nairobi and New York City amid growing demand for travel on the route during the festive season.

The national carrier has grappled with a fluctuating demand on the route since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, forcing it to shift flight frequencies.

In February, Kenya Airways cut the flight frequency to John F. Kennedy International Airport from five to three per week after demand subsided following the end of the peak season.

KQ has also increased frequencies on routes such as Paris to daily, Madagascar to nine times per week, Amsterdam to five times every week, Johannesburg to 24 times per week, and London to 14 times weekly.

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“The network enhancement is routine and is informed by the return to air travel as the aviation industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and in support of the tourism sector in Kenya,” said the airline as quoted by Business Daily.

The higher demand for travel on the Nairobi-New York route is a major boost for the tourism sector for which the US remains the biggest source of international visitors to Kenya. The US accounted for 16 percent of the 870,465 arrivals into the country last year.

Kenya Airways launched direct flights to New York in October 2018, cutting the journey to 15 hours on the long-haul route tapped as part of efforts to revive its fortunes. 

The airline had projected that the nonstop flights to the United States would boost its annual revenues by more than 10 percent in 2019 and 2020.

Being the only East African airline flying directly to the US, KQ makes it easier for passengers from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi to connect through Nairobi

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