Delta Air Lines-Kenya Airways' Expanding Partnership

Delta Air Lines and Kenya Airways expand their partnership with nonstop flights between New York and Nairobi.



August 7, 2023

DALLAS — Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DL) and Kenya Airways (KQ) have announced that they will expand their partnership to include KQ's nonstop flight between New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, Kenya, which the Kenya flag carrier has been serving since 2006.

Starting August 5, the expanded partnership offers travelers more travel options within North America and Africa, with 31 additional connections available through Nairobi and another 57 across the United States and Canada.

In addition to broader connection options and the direct route between NBO and JFK, Delta SkyMiles members and KQ's Asante Rewards members can continue to earn miles on this expansion. DL and KQ are both members of the SkyTeam Alliance, allowing passengers to earn and redeem miles on both airlines. In June 2022, DL announced a previous codeshare expansion with the Kenyan airline.

This expansion included additional markets within the United States and in Africa. KQ placed its code on DL flights from New York JFK to Boston, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and Norfolk for passengers flying on KQ's nonstop flights between NBO and JFK. DL placed its code on KQ's additional frequencies between Nairobi and Accra and flights between Nairobi and Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Monrovia, Liberia.

As the Atlanta-based carrier continues to increase its presence in Africa, this expansion will further enhance connectivity between the United States and Africa. DL has served Africa for 17 years, the longest of any U.S. carrier. From its hub in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL), it flies to Johannesburg Or Tambo (JNB) and Cape Town International (CPT). From New York JFK, it flies to Accra, Ghana; Dakar, Senegal; and Lagos, Nigeria.

In addition, DL is working with its joint venture partners, such as Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic (VS), to serve more cities in Africa. Air France (AF) launched flights to Dar es Salaam via Zanzibar in June using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, giving DL access to more destinations in East Africa.

Delta Air Lines at JFK. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways

When Demand Is High

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), African passenger traffic will substantially recover in 2023. Regions have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, with Central and West Africa at 108% and Northern Africa at 111% of 2019 levels. That said, Southern Africa is recovering at just 86% of 2019 levels. All of these regions are expected to continue to rise throughout 2024.

Delta has stated that its load factors have been high on its flights to Africa and have returned to 2019 levels. Compared to the first and second quarters of 2022, DL has seen positive trends in the first and second quarters of 2023. In the third and fourth quarters of 2023, the airline expected a further increase in demand and has seen greater demand for business and leisure travel to the continent.

The Chief Executive of Kenya Airways, Allan Kilavuka, commented, "Kenya Airways prides itself on connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa. The expansion of the codeshare is historic as it not only allows K.Q. to expand its footprint in the U.S. but is also significant because it provides seamless connectivity on a single ticket for those traveling for business, leisure, or studies into the U.S. while giving seamless connectivity to those visiting Africa through JFK and K.Q.'s hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi."

Delta's President of International Alain Bellemare commented, "At a time when we are seeing unprecedented demand for travel between North America and Africa, expanding our strategic partnership with Kenya Airways offers our customers more travel options as well as supports our priority to deepen our presence across the African continent."

Featured image: Delta Air Lines

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