Kenya-US di­rect flights to be­gin in Novem­ber – Trans­port CS

The state had granted a li­cence to Delta Air­lines of the US for di­rect flights from At­lanta in 2009, but the air­line was de­nied per­mis­sion by the US gov­ern­ment

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page -

The gov­ern­ment is keen on hav­ing di­rect flights be­tween Kenya and the United States take off in Novem­ber af­ter meet­ing all the con­di­tions set by the US.

Trans­port Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary James Macharia said from 149 is­sues that Amer­i­can avi­a­tion au­thor­i­ties raised, mainly over se­cu­rity and safety, “the last is­sue was ironed out this week”.

“Now it is for real,” Macharia said in an in­ter­view with the Star on Thurs­day.

Two weeks ago, of­fi­cials from the US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion in­spected the fa­cil­i­ties at the Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port and con­firmed to the Kenya Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity that all was well, he said.

The In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity will con­duct an au­dit of the fa­cil­i­ties to give the fi­nal green­light.

The KCAA has pro­jected a mid-Oc­to­ber date for the fi­nal au­dit, direc­tor gen­eral Gil­bert Kibe con­firmed ear­lier this week.

“The US has even re­quested us to ask air­lines in­ter­ested in fly­ing di­rectly from Kenya to ap­ply for the nec­es­sary per­mis­sions,” the CS said.

The is­sue of di­rects flights be­tween the two coun­tries has been on and off for close to five years.

Kenya scored 88 per cent in a se- cu­rity au­dit by the ICAO con­ducted be­tween Septem­ber 17 and 24, 2015, above the min­i­mum 80 per cent re­quired mark.

This was af­ter fail­ing in pre­vi­ous au­dits where ICAO gave JKIA 78.42 per cent Fe­bru­ary last year, up from 66 per cent in 2013.

Kenya had granted a li­cence to Delta Air­lines of the US for di­rect flights from At­lanta in 2009, but the air­line was re­fused per­mis­sion by the US gov­ern­ment, cit­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Kenya Air­ways is in­ter­ested in launch­ing long-haul flights to the US.

The di­rect flights are ex­pected to en­hance Nairobi’s sta­tus as a trans­port hub, pro­mote tourism and in­crease trade be­tween the two coun­tries.

Other African coun­tries that have di­rect flights to the US are South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Cape Verde, Ghana, Sene­gal, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Di­rect flights will be a shot in the arm for the re­cov­er­ing tourism in­dus­try.

/HEZRON NJOROGE

Trans­port Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary James Macharia be­fore the Par­lia­ment Trans­port Com­mit­tee on May 24

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