Video shows first New York-Nairobi flight in 2018, not Kenya’s deputy president landing in the US

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A video of a Kenyan plane receiving a ceremonial water salute has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, where it has been shared alongside the claim that it shows the arrival of Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto in the United States. The claim is false; the video was filmed in 2018 and shows celebrations marking the maiden direct flight of Kenya Airways between New York and Nairobi. 

On February 27, 2022, a Kenyan Facebook page with more than 27,000 followers published a post featuring a “live” video of a Kenya Airways plane receiving a formal reception upon landing.

“Dp William Samoei Ruto received heroic reception as he gets into USA for 10 days tour (sic),” reads the post. The attached video has been viewed more than 350,000 times.

Just over three minutes into the video, Ruto is seen along with four other individuals at the foot of the plane. One of them is the former US ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, and another as Michael Joseph, the chairman of Kenya Airways.

The five men then walk along a red carpet while waving the Kenyan and US flags amid festive music from a band. The tune is a standard frequently played by Kenya’s military band during important celebrations.

A screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on March 15, 2022

The same video was shared with a similar claim on YouTube.

Ruto in the US 

On February 27, 2022, Ruto embarked on a political tour to the United States as part of his presidential campaign ahead of Kenya’s general elections, scheduled for August 9, 2022.

His communications team shared images of his trip on Twitter, claiming that he had had meetings at the White House. However, this prompted questions online about whether Ruto visited the main White House or an adjacent building (see here and here).

Some internet users also mocked Ruto by sharing poorly edited images of him with US President Joe Biden (see here, here, here and here).

During the tour, Ruto met several officials in Washington DC, including US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Molly Phee. He also met with members of the Kenyan diaspora.

However, the post claiming to show Ruto receiving a formal reception in the United States is false.

Old video from Kenya

In the video shared on Facebook, Godec can be seen clearly alongside Ruto. We used this clue to run a Google search using the two men’s names along with the keyword “airport”.

This led us to news articles published in October 2018 (see here and here) reporting on Ruto leading a reception party at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta airport on the occasion of the first non-stop flight from New York to Nairobi by Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways.

A further search located a video report of the same occasion.

In February 2017, Kenya was granted “Category One” status by the US Federal Aviation Authority, which paved the way for non-stop flights between Nairobi and New York. Thereafter, Kenya Airways was cleared to begin direct flights to the US and on October 29, 2018, the maiden flight left Nairobi for New York.