New service will bloom for Kenya

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The Kenyan horticultural industry, especially its rose growers, look set to benefit from the launch of a Kenya Airways non-stop flight from Nairobi to New York in late October this year. It becomes the first airline to offer a non-stop flight between East Africa and the USA.

“We are honoured to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya and East Africa.” said Kenya Airways group managing director and CEO Sebastian Mikosz. The airline will operate a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with a cargo capacity of 137 m3 (4,826 cu ft). The flight will depart daily from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi at 23:25 arriving at JFK airport in New York at 06:25 the following day. From New York it will depart at 12:25 landing at JKIA at 10:55 the following day. Its duration will be 15 hours east bound and 14 hours west bound.

While the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act afforded Kenya and other developing countries duty-free access of some goods into the US market, the cut flower sub-sector is Kenya’s top forex earner but has remained underexploited. Kenya currently commands just one percent market share of the lucrative US market.

Kenya takes almost 40 per cent of the EU roses market; it suffers in the US market by being more expensive than competing South American produce.