Kenya Airways is banking on its aircrafts currently on lease to Oman and Turkish Air for route expansion and the launch of its direct Nairobi-New York flights in October.
Oman Air is expected to surrender one of the Boeings in its possession in September and the remaining early next year.
“They are coming back. We will use them for network expansion for the New York flights and new destinations to be announced in the next two months,” KQ boss Sebastian Mikosz said.
The three 777-300ERs being used by Turkish airlines will be surrendered between 2019 and 2020.
Once the two aircrafts leased to Oman are received, the airline will have at nine aircraft deployed to new destinations.
JKIA hosts 7.5m passengers
Mikosz told the Star on the sidelines of a luncheon hosted for visiting US undersecretary for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan only two aircraft will be deployed on the US route. He said American investors should take advantage of the direct flights to set up operations in Kenya.
Currently, there are about 48 US companies and organizations that have hubs in Nairobi.
Kaplan said the direct flights will boost commercial and cultural links. He said KQ should fly directly to Washington DC as it’s next destination, a request Mikosz said will be considered in their next new destination announcement.
Kaplan, who was in the country for three days, was accompanied by a 60-person delegation consisting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, senior state officials, investors and business executives.
Transport CS James Macharia said the flights would help remodel JKIA which hosts about 7.5 million passengers annually.
“In the coming months, we are going to remodel terminal B, C and D to ensure the ability for JKIA to host more passengers moves up to 12 million and increase the sector’s share to GDP from five per cent to 7.5 per cent,” Macharia said.