The first inaugural Kenya Airways direct flights to Geneva, Switzerland, and Rome, Italy, take off on Wednesday, June 12.
“These flights will be operated four times a week, twice a week flying via Geneva Switzerland Take a much-needed trip from the city in the sun to the capital of the ancient empire,” Kenya Airways says on its website.
This comes as the airline seeks to expand its base and cash in more revenue in the wake of heightened competition from other players.
On April 30, KQ announced yet another net loss Sh5.9 billion from Sh5.1 billion for the year ended December 2018 . The loss before tax was Sh7.6 billion from Sh6.4 billion in 2017.
This means the airline has mad a cumulative loss of Sh 89.3 billion in the last six years.
Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Ralf Heckner, however, said in an opinion article, “The inaugural trip will be a uniquely satisfying trip for me because for the first time, and going forward, the Nairobi and the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations will be directly linked. Kenya and Switzerland will take their relationship literally to new heights.”
Geneva is the headquarters of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Trade Organisation, and the World Health Organisation.
Nairobi is the headquarters of United Nations Office at Nairobi, which houses UNEP, UN-Habitat and UNDP.
He noted that the new KQ flight to Geneva will be an opportunity for businesses and civil societies to connect and work together more strategically.
“Nairobi is in many ways the “think tank city” of the African continent with many NGOs and universities. Kenyan human rights NGOs will need just a few hours to be in Geneva and participate in sessions of the Human Rights Council. The same is true when it comes to humanitarian issues, trade and health or peace promotion,” he said.
The flight will also promote people-to-people relations and tourism.
“Rome with its status of a ‘global city’ is also rich with history and culture making it one of the top tourist destination in the world while Geneva hosts the highest number of international organisations in the world such as the United Nations, making it a global hub for diplomacy,” outgoing KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz said in January when he announced plans to launch the flights.
Mikosz said Geneva is a perfect complement for Nairobi, which is also Africa’s hub for UN headquarters among other international agencies.