Ambassador Godec’s Remarks for KQ Direct Flight to New York City Launch Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Ambassador Godec’s Remarks

For KQ Direct Flight to New York City Launch

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

October 28, 2018

Waheshimiwa, mabibi na mabwana, hamjambo! Habari za jioni?

This is an historic day for Kenya and the United States!  And I am very glad to be here to share it with you.  If there’s one phrase that sums up today, it has to be: when you dream big “the sky’s the limit”!

The United States and Kenya have a long and extraordinary partnership.  Over 55 years we have demonstrated time and again that through strong cooperation and commitment – we can accomplish amazing things!

Together we have woven a beautiful tapestry of ties: government to government, business to business, NGO to NGO, and people-to-people.

Just in the past few months we’ve had the extraordinary meeting between President Trump  and President Kenyatta where we elevated our bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership.  We welcomed a visit to Kenya from the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, who was graciously hosted by the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta. We received a visit from the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and signed a landmark business MOU between our two governments.  As part of the visits, our companies have concluded nearly $1 billion in new trade and investment deals.  And also we held our second Bilateral Defense Forum and further strengthened our security cooperation. And, in a visit just a week agoour top trade officialsbegan talks on how to take our commercial partnership to a new, higher level.

And, tonight we take another huge step.  (We really are on a roll here…) The historic, inaugural flight between the United States and Kenya – is the culmination of many years of hard work.  It will launch new collaborations, new partnerships and new investments. It will bring us even closer together.

Tourists, business people, students, academics, reporters, officials and all our citizens will be able to travel more quickly and efficiently.  And they will bring on these direct flights, their ideas, creativity, and energy, further enriching the tapestry of our ties.  More people than ever before will have the opportunity to see and experience the natural beauty of our two nations.  We will also have the opportunity for more trade and investment. Direct flights will reduce delivery time and cargo freight costs.  Perishable products can be transported more rapidly – think cut flowers, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

With direct flights from New York to Nairobi, Kenya is an even more attractive place for U.S. businesses to set up offices, hold conferences and meetings, and it’s easier for business leaders to conclude mutually beneficial deals.  This flight is a powerful new tool to generate revenue and create jobs in both Kenya and the United States.

We are already seeing the benefits of the direct link. Next week, a trade delegation from Florida will arrive in Nairobi on this flight.  They choose to come to Kenya in part because of the ease of the new connection.

Direct flights have long been a shared goal of the United States and Kenya and for me personally.

We have worked hard, side by side, to make them possible.  I congratulate the Government of Kenya, including the Ministries of Transport, Interior and Tourism, including specifically Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and Captain Kibe, Kenya Airports Authority and Johnny Andersen, Sebastian Mikosz, Michael Joseph, and all of Kenya Airways, on this momentous accomplishment.

I would also like to thank the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the FAA, our many other colleagues in Washington DC, and, most especially, the extraordinary team at Mission Nairobi without whom we would not have reached this historic milestone.

Congratulations again to everyone on this truly major achievement – an achievement that  will take our relations to new heights. If you will permit me Richard – together we’ve gotten the job done! Together, we are building a better, brighter future for both the Kenyan and the American people.

Pamoja tusonge mbele. Safari njema to everyone who takes this flight! Asenteni sana.