Kenya Airways will launch daily Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta-New York JFK services on Oct. 28, becoming the first airline to offer a nonstop flight between East Africa and the US.

Kenya Airways Group MD and CEO Sebastian Mikosz said the new service “fits within our strategy to attract corporate and high-end tourism traffic from the world to Kenya and Africa.”

East Africa-based Ethiopian Airlines operates nonstop flights from the US east coast on westbound flights returning to Addis Ababa. However, ATW understands Ethiopian is not able to operate eastbound flights to the US because its Addis Ababa Bole International Airport hub sits at high sea level (7,657 ft. above sea level), which reduces engine performance and requiring requiring a longer takeoff run, potentially exceeding the amount of available runway.

Kenya Airways will operate a Boeing 787-8 to New York JFK with a total capacity of 234 passengers and 16 crew members.

Kenya Airways said in November 2017 the carrier constantly assesses its network to position fleet on routes with strong demand. The airline ceased flights to Hong Kong, China and Hanoi, Vietnam from Oct. 29, 2017, following an evaluation of its Asian network.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at