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Kenya Airways cuts New York flights to two

A Kenya Airways plane at the JKIA in Nairobi.

Kenya Airways has cut New York flights to two a week on low demand as summer season comes to an end.

The airline said the number of passengers on the route has dropped with the carrier recording a cabin factor of below 65 percent, forcing them to remove one flight to JF Kennedy, which had been introduced in July.

The airline had enjoyed a good season, recording a cabin factor of over 70 percent between June and end of August as more travellers sought to travel for summer holidays.

“We are now in low season and demand for travel on the route has gone down. We have had to reduce the number of flights from three to two on the New York route starting this month,” said the airline in response to Business Daily queries.

KQ said with the cabin factor of 60 percent, the route is still commercially viable because of good belly cargo load that the airline is carrying.

Outbound flights to the US will be on Tuesday and Saturday.

The carrier had in February reduced New York flights to one weekly after demand failed to grow since resuming operations on the route on November last year, following fresh Covid-19 restrictions.

Kenya Airways increased frequencies to the US to three a week in June as demand for summer bookings picked up, coming as a relief to the carrier that is struggling with low numbers due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The US route is one of the crucial destinations for the national carrier as it plays a major role in connecting travellers who transit through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The airline was operating five flights to New York before the Covid-19 pandemic that saw the carrier ground all its aircraft in early April.

Kenya Airways started direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to 15 hours on the long haul route tapped as part of an effort to revive the airline’s fortunes. The carrier had forecast its daily direct flights to the US would boost annual revenues by more than 10 percent in 2019 and 2020.

The long-haul route aimed to encourage more business and tourist travel, with the US being one of Kenya’s biggest source s of visitors. – businessdailyafrica.com