Kenya Airways is eyeing New York its first touch in United States next year after American government authorities clear its flight and landing permits to key US airports.
Reports from the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi said Kenya Airways management and aviation authorities had confirmed to have made good progress on securing flight and landing permits in United States to be affected next year.
The airline’s entry into the US will start in New York before touching down to other American airports. The East African leading carrier had this month received regulatory approval to operate direct flights to the US with estimates to fly 60,000 passengers in its first year of operation across the Atlantic Ocean to America.
“We are currently focusing on New York due to the importance of point to point traffic with Nairobi. However, we are also studying other options on the US territory as we may expand our network in the US in the near future,” Kenya Airways Commercial Director Vincent Coste told The Business Daily.
Kenya Airways entry into the US skies at the second or a quarter of 2018 will mark a milestone development to the East African tourist portfolio with expectations to attract more American tourists to the region, best known by rich wildlife resources.
Lacking direct connection to the US cities, East African countries depend airlines outside the region to link their airports to US destinations.
Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways (SAA) are the only carriers from Eastern and Southern African region flying to the US, while most tourists and business visitors plying the route depend mostly on the Middle East and European registered airlines.
Except for Kenya Airways which still plying the regional and international flights, the rest of all airlines in East Africa are flying domestic routes due to lack of aircraft, poor business and lack of funding from respective governments.
Tanzania is among regional member states lacking vibrant airline for international flights. Precision Air, the privately owned airline, is the only carrier connecting tourists and other visitors from America and other parts of the world to Tanzania through its Nairobi daily flights.
Nairobi remains the most reliable hub for tourists visiting the East African region. Kenya Airways’ entry into the US airspace will cut down flight hours to less than 18 spent on air through Europe and the Middle East.
New York’s JFK Airport will be the first US landing point for Kenya Airways. It is the US fourth-busiest airport in 2016, and the US economic hub on the East Coast.
Kenya Airways received a foreign air carrier permit on September 5th from the United States Department of Transportation.
The Department of Transportation had in June recommended the airline to be granted the permit if there were no public objections.