Kenya Airways’ inaugural non-stop, direct flight from New York City to Nairobi has arrived in Nairobi to a rousing welcome led by Deputy President William Samoei Ruto.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft christened “Magical Kenya” touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9.07 a.m. – nearly an hour and a half ahead of schedule.

The flight departed New York City at 8pm Kenyan time onto a much shorter flight that took approximately 12 hours to Nairobi – down from earlier estimated flight duration of 14 hours from New York City to Nairobi.

The flight, which had 234 passengers on board, has now made history by being the first direct, non-stop flight from East Africa to the United States of America (USA).

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Making his keynote address soon after welcoming the maiden flight, Deputy President William Ruto hailed the flight as an historic milestone for tourism, trade and investment between Kenya and the USA.

Deputy President Ruto said,“Kenya Airways’ direct flight to the U.S. is an important milestone for Kenya as tourism destination considering that the U.S. is currently Kenya’s leading tourism source market with a market share of 12% of arrivals to Kenya. The direct flight will save travelers at least 7 hours of flying time, and thus provide a shorter, quicker and more affordable connection for tourists and business travelers coming to Kenya. This will substantially boost Kenya’s global profile as a tourism destination.”

The Deputy President further noted that the flight has elevated Kenya – and more specifically Nairobi’s profile as a hub destination that is capable of receiving visitors from all over the world.

“Kenya’s safari experience is one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife experiences and has put Kenya both on the global map and on many American travelers’ bucket lists. As more North Americans look to Africa as their next big vacation destination, Kenya now has an opportunity to expand further into the United States’ market and capture market share away from other destinations in Africa,” said Deputy President Ruto.

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