March 24, 2020: Kenya Airways is offering one-way complimentary tickets for Kenyans in the US on its last flight from New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. From the midnight of March 25, the airline will suspend international flights as per the directive issued by the government of Kenya to cease all incoming and outgoing international passenger traffic.
The announcement came as eight new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the country, taking the total number of cases to 16.
In a statement issued, Kenya Airways cited that any person coming to Kenya will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine as directed by the government.
The national carrier announced unpaid leave for some of its staff beginning April 1 with the management team taking a 75 percent pay cut, while Allan Kilavuka, managing director and CEO agreed to an 80 percent pay cut.
The daily flight using a B787-8 Dreamliner began on October 29, 2018 - making it the first in East Africa to fly non-stop into a US city. In its first year of operation on the Nairobi-New York route, the airline ferried over 105,000 passengers and operated 594 flights. During the year, the carrier connected 34 African countries to the US. The top traffic sources from Africa have been Nigeria (16.3 percent), Uganda (4.7 percent), South Africa (15 percent), Tanzania (11.7 percent), and Congo (8 percent).
During the same period, the airline ferried 530 tonnes of cargo from Kenya and 80 tonnes from other African countries to New York. 944 tonnes of cargo was also ferried from New York to Africa through Kenya Airways flights.