Kenya Airways to resume New York flights after six months freeze

KENYAKenya Airways (KQ) will resume direct flights to New-York from Nairobi on October 29 with a slimmed down operation of two weekly flights after a six-month freeze due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Kenyan national carrier will initially operate flights on Wednesday and Sunday down from a frequency of five before the global COVID-19 outbreak that forced it to ground flights.

KQ reduced the number of flights on the New York route from seven to five a week effective January 2019.

The airline that ferried 104,000 passengers on the New-York route between January and October 2019 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 is aimed to encourage more business and tourist travel with the US being one of Kenya’s biggest source of visitors.

KQ said it will charge US$1,095 on a return air ticket from Nairobi to New York, a journey that takes about 15 hours.

It will also charge about US$ 709 on a one-way air ticket between the two destinations, prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move comes at a time when most airlines are beginning to resume both domestic and international flights after grounding their fleets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

According to a report by International Air Transport Association (IATA), African airlines’ traffic sank 90.1% in August, slightly improved over a 94.6% decline in July. capacity contracted 78.4% and load factor fell 41.0 percentage points to 34.6% which was the lowest among regions.

IATA expects full-year 2020 traffic to be down 66% compared to 2019.

The previous estimate was for a 63% decline.

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