Kenya Airways’ planned resumption of its direct flight to New York now has a new future date. After experiencing numerous cancellations recently, the national carrier has moved the opening date to 29th November 2020 from the earlier announced 31st October 2020. This announcement comes in the wake of rising cases of COVID-19 around the world.

Early bookings for the 31st October direct flight to New York had registered a modest cabin load factor of 40%. Cabin load factor measures the percentage of available seating capacity filled with passengers. The higher the load factor, the more an airline can spread its fixed costs amongst passengers and hence remain profitable.

Scaling Down the Direct Flight to New York

Kenya Airways will scale down its direct flight to New York to two weekly flights on Sundays and Wednesdays. If demand picks up, a third flight on Fridays might be in the offing. The New York flight launched in 2018 received phenomenal reviews by travellers as it cut the journey to 15 hours. Passengers no longer required to take long layovers in other airports before proceeding to the US. Thanks to a codeshare partnership Kenya Airways entered into with Delta Air Lines, travellers had access to eleven more cities in the US and Canada including Dallas, Washington DC and San Francisco. By October 2019 Kenya Airways had made over 500 trips with more than 100,000 passengers from New York to Nairobi. The route operates on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner which features 30 Business Class seats and 207 Economy Class seats.

The Second Wave is Here

As the so-called second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic begins to bite, destinations are resuming their lockdown protocols. Recently Britain’s Prime Minister announced an England-wide lockdown saying, “from Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home, you may only leave home for specific reasons. Now is the time to take action, because there is no alternative.” Within the first six months of the virus outbreak, Kenya Airways’ total income slipped to KES 30.2 billion from KES 8.6 billion recorded in the same period in 2019. While you wait for the direct flight to New York to resume in November, remember to stay safe, wash your hands regularly and wear a good mask.