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

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Jennifer Njuguna, Kenya Airways senior sales manager for key markets, addressing Kenyans in Minnesota on Saturday, June 30, 2018 regarding the upcoming launch of Kenya-US direct flights by her airline. Photo: Tom Gitaa/Mshale
Jennifer Njuguna, Kenya Airways senior sales manager for key markets, addressing Kenyans in Minnesota on Saturday, June 30, 2018 regarding the upcoming launch of Kenya-US direct flights by her airline. Photo: Tom Gitaa/Mshale

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.

Author

  • Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was 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 Dish Network 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. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.

About Tom Gitaa Gitaa, Editor-in-Chief

Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was 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 Dish Network 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. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.

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