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How much Kenya Airways tickets could have cost for Ruto's U.S. trip - Report

President Ruto's recent state visit to the United States has sparked debate over the cost-effectiveness of his travel arrangements.

President William Ruto during a joint press briefing at the White House on May 23, 2024
  • President Ruto's state visit to the United States sparked debate over the cost of his travel arrangements
  • KTN News investigated the costs of using a luxury jet operated by Royal Jet vs. Kenya Airways for the same route
  • The investigation suggested that the KQ tickets would have been significantly less expensive than the luxury jet

He chose to use a luxury jet operated by the Royal Jet airline, instead of a Kenya Airways (KQ) flight, asserting that the KQ option was more expensive.

To verify this claim, KTN News investigated the costs associated with both travel methods.

Kenya Airways began direct nonstop flights to JFK International Airport in New York in 2018, with a total flight time of about 15 hours.

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Journalists explored the Kenya Airways website and requested a quote for a return business class ticket from Nairobi to New York.

The most expensive option, a business class seat, costs approximately Sh847,000 for a return trip.

When rounded up to Sh1 million per ticket, the total cost for all seats equivalent to those in President Ruto's Boeing Business Jet would be Sh34 million.

The Boeing Business Jet that President Ruto used has eight VIP seats, eight business seats, and 18 standard seats.

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If the KQ tickets were booked in respect to the differentiated class of seats in the chartered plane, the cost would have been significantly less, with a difference of approximately Sh164 million, according to the report.

This investigation by Emmanuel Too thus suggests that President Ruto's claim about the KQ flight being more expensive than his luxury jet may not hold up to scrutiny.

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Meanwhile, Kenya Airways (KQ) has categorically denied the authenticity of a viral statement circulating online.

The document, which allegedly addressed the ongoing public debate about President William Ruto's use of a luxury private jet for his US state visit, has been termed fake by the airline.

Kenya Airways has clarified that it did not issue the statement and has urged the public to disregard the misinformation.

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The controversy follows President Ruto's defense of his decision to use a luxury private jet, citing it as a cost-effective measure for the state visit, which aimed to secure substantial investments for Kenya.

“FellowKenyans, I have noted concerns on my mode of transport to USA. As a responsible steward of public resources and in keeping with my determination for us to live within our means and that I should lead from the front in so doing, the cost was less than travelling on KQ.” President Ruto wrote.

A single trip from Nairobi to Atlanta, Georgia aboard the luxury jet takes approximately 18 hours at a cost of approximately Sh98 million.

A round trip sees the cost rise to more than double and costing the taxpayers more than Sh200million considering that also travelled from Atlanta to Washington D.C., a trip spanning two-hours.

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