Kenya Airways (KQ) is set to resume direct flights to and from the US on Saturday after a seven-month hiatus occasioned by the global outbreak of Covid-19.
KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka revealed that the airline has registered a 40 percent cabin factor load for Saturday’s trip in early bookings.
“We are resuming the New York route on 31st (Saturday) with the first flight so far recording a 40 percent cabin load,” said Kilavuka.
The national carrier said it will initially operate two weekly flights on Wednesdays and Sundays on the Nairobi-New York route before increasing the frequency to three times a week (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday).
KQ suspended all operations in March after the government closed the country’s airspace in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak in Kenya and other parts of the world.
After Kenya reopened its airspace for international flights on August 1st, KQ reduced its routes by half to 27, dropping nonstop flights to and from the US due to low demand.
KQ launched direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to 15 hours. The airline completed 594 trips to and from New York, flying at least 105,084 passengers as of October last year.
Last month, KQ expanded its codeshare deal with US-based Delta Airlines, which increased its network in North America, offering customers flying into Dallas, Washington DC, and San Francisco a one-stop travel option via New York’s JFK International Airport.
“The one-stop service via New York into North America is critical, especially in the current environment as Kenya Airways continues to focus on offering safe travel by reducing the number of connections needed by passengers connecting to and from Africa,” said KQ in a statement.
Before the expanded deal, KQ was connecting passengers to several destinations in the US and Canada through the codeshare arrangement with Delta. They include Columbus, Phoenix, Charlotte, Denver, Orlando, Houston, Miami, Chicago, Raleigh Durham, Montreal, and Toronto, among others.