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Kenya Airways courts the diaspora in advance of direct flights to US


Monday, July 2, 2018
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Kenya Airways’ senior sales manager for key markets, Jennifer Njuguna, has urged Kenyans in the US to show their patriotism by flying the airline once it debuts its Nairobi to New York direct flights in October. She said the airline will have special inaugural rates that should enable Kenyans here to take advantage of the new direct route to Kenya.

Ms. Njuguna made the remarks during the annual Minnesota Kenyans International Development (MKIDA) annual graduation gala on Saturday.

“This flight will save you a lot of time, more than six hours, as you will leave Nairobi at 11:25pm and you will be in New York at 6:25am,” Njuguna said. Currently, Kenyans in the US have to either make a connection in Europe or the Gulf states, and recently, Addis Ababa to get to Kenya. The new direct flight promises to cut the flying time by as much as day for some in the US, based on which state they are based out of. For most, a minimum of four to six hours will be eliminated.

In Minnesota, where she made the remarks, the typical route is Minneapolis/St. Paul airport through Amsterdam and then to Nairobi using Delta or KLM usually with a minimum layover of three hours.

This will be the fastest way from East Africa to New York, Njuguna said at the gala.

Ms. Njuguna is leading the advance team from Nairobi in New York that is putting finishing touches to the much anticipated direct flights from Kenya. She has been meeting with Kenyans around the United States and travel agents to familiarize them with the impending launch. The inaugural flight will depart Nairobi on October 28 at 11:25pm and arrive at JFK the next morning at 6:25am. From New York, the flight will depart each day at 12:25pm and arrive in Nairobi at 10:55am

Travel analysts have described the flight as unique to the Kenya Airways network as it will require four pilots and twelve flight attendants and will use 85 tons of fuel each way for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will be utilized for the flight. The 787 has a capacity of 234 passengers.

“We are counting on you to be our ambassadors on this side of the world,” Njuguna told a receptive audience.

She added that beyond providing a faster means of getting to Kenya, the direct flights will open up Kenya even more to the US market in terms of commerce and trade.

The ruling party in Kenya posted on their twitter account in January that the country’s president will be among the passengers on the first flight to New York.

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About Tom Gitaa

Tom is the President and Publisher of Mshale. As the founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation.Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dishnetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president of  The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul. Tom has previously served in the board of directors of the Minnesota International Center (MIC), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has also previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa. He sits on the board of the United Nations Association.

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