By Samuel Ouma
The long awaited historic direct flight by Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to the United States of America was accomplished on Monday, October 29, after it touched down at John F Kennedy International airport at 6:45am (1:30am Kenyan time).
The plane christened “Magical Kenya) left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday at 10:45pm (local time) after the inauguration led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
It covered 11,800km in an estimated 15-hour journey cruising at a speed of 888km/hour.
On board were CNN’s Richard Quest, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz and Chairman Michael Joseph.
The journey was commissioned by the four pilot crews led by 65-year-old old Captain Joseph Kinuthia. The plane was met with the prestigious water salute, a renowned airport tradition meant to recognize and pay respect to military events, new airlines, key events at the airport and anniversaries.
Non-stop flights between the two countries is a big milestone as normal flights from Kenya to US takes upto 22 hours and now this has been reduced by 7 hours. Out of 234 passengers, 204 will be in economy class. The charges are Ksh.89, 900 ($899) for an economy class and Ksh.260.000 ($2600) for business class.
The plane has 4 pilots and 12 attendants. It will consume 85,000 litres of fuel in a one-way trip.
The inaugural flight to New York will give Kenya increased access to the large US economy. More US corporation in Kenyan market is also expected to increase plus high number of tourist.
“These flights are set to provide a seamless experience for business and leisure travellers alike. It will allow the world to taste Kenya’s diverse cultures and hospitality,” reiterated President Kenya during the inauguration.
The move will also cement Nairobi’s position as one of Africa’s biggest economic movers. Eastern and Central Africa will also reap economically from the latest milestone.
Kenya now joins Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Cape Verde as African countries that which have direct flights to the US.