NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – United States Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, Gilbert Kaplan has urged Kenya Airways to start direct flights to Washington DC soon after the inaugural New York route scheduled for October 28, 2018.
Speaking during the US Trade delegation luncheon hosted by Kenya Airways, Kaplan says the move will enhance trade relations between the two countries.
Kaplan hailed the great progress Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority have made by establishing a direct flight between Nairobi and New York adding that this will also help promote commercial and cultural exchange between the US and Kenya.
“Kenya Airways non-stop flight will make it easier for businesses and tourism to flow. I acknowledge how hard KQ and the Kenyan government have worked with the assistance from US bodies to make this possible,” Kaplan said.
He says Kenya is among the top priority countries in Africa that the United States is keen on strengthening trade ties with.
Kaplan is leading a 60 person delegation consisting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, senior U.S. Government officials and business executives to Kenya for trade engagements till Friday.
“President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa focus is on how the US can have strong trade relationships with countries in Africa, Kenya was among the top countries in the list,” he noted.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said Kenya’s goal is to transform Kenya into a major hub.
“We will invest more in making Nairobi a true hub, increasing investments to make sure businesses give priority to this country to increase GDP from 5 percent to 7.5 percent,” Macharia added.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, on his part, confirmed that Kenya Airways is considering flying directly to more US airports, bets on the US direct flights to grow traffic to by 20 percent.
“With the introduction of KQ daily flights to the US, we are looking at growing tourism traffic by over 20 percent. Our vision is to also move to ATL (Atlanta) and IAD (Washington DC),” said Balala.
According to International Trade Administration, Africa is home to six of the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world and U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa now top $21 billion a year.
“Our trade investment ties are a top priority to the US and I know for Kenya as well. Kenya is a great country and this business relationship will be a great milestone,” said US Ambassador to Kenya, Bob Godec.