Kenya Airways launched daily Nairobi-New York JFK services Oct. 28, making it the fifth African carrier serving the US.

“Nairobi becoming the eighth city in Africa that will be served from the US. For us it is the longest flight—12,500 km [1,553 mi.]. This flight is an important step in our development,” Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz told ATW.

The SkyTeam member calculates 14 hr.-30 min. flying time for the nonstop Boeing 787-8 service.

Mikosz said demand for the New York service is picking up; however, “This operation is a huge commercial challenge for us. The New York flights are also a country project [for the nation of Kenya].”

Kenya Airways is the second carrier in Eastern Africa to operate to New York after Ethiopian Airlines.

Africa’s RwandAir plans to launch daily Kigali-New York services from early 2019.

On Aug. 15, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Kenya Airways agreed to a codeshare partnership in which Delta’s code will be placed on certain flights to and from Nairobi.

Kurt Hofmann,