Excitement has surrounded the much awaited Kenya Airways – New York direct flights after the national carrier Thursday announced the inaugural flights will cost $869 (Sh87 000).

KQ, which is currently swimming in debt, said it expected the flights between Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and New York’s JFK Airport to play a critical role in returning it profit making territory.

The seats on sale for this price, however, are limited and the cost is expected to go up as booking increases. The carrier has already started selling the tickets despite the fact that the first flight will take off on October 28.

Passengers travelling to JFK will arrive early in the morning-6.30am while the return flight to will depart JFK at 1.30Pm and arrive in Nairobi 10.30am next day.

“This is the best New Year gift our premier carrier, the Pride of Africa, has given to us Kenyans living here who make numerous trips to Kenya for different reasons,” said Stanely Njoroge, a Kenyan born resident of South Jersey. “I can’t exactly tell you how happy I feel about this news.”

KQ is hoping the direct flights will boost tourism in the country since US is the largest source market for tourists and that it will help the carrier shake off it’s debt and swing back to making profits.