Trump won’t stop plans for direct flights – PS
Getting direct flights to the US is an independent function of the FAA. I don’t think politics could play into this, says Nyakera
Kenya’s long-running pursuit of direct flights to the United States will not be obstructed by the change of regime in January, Ministry of Transport reassured yesterday.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, US’s aviation regulator, completed a five-day audit of Kenya’s aviation industry’s security and safety measures last week. The assessment will give verdict if the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will attain category one status, paving the way for direct flights.
Donald Trump’s shock victory following the fiercely contested election on November 11 has unnerved many countries due to his protectionist poli- cies that endeared him to his supporters.
Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera, however, downplayed the fears saying the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the US, is independent from the federal government. It is the only policymaking body with power to decide whether or not the country will be allowed to implement the anticipated service.
“From where we sit, getting direct flights to the US is an independent function of the FAA. I don’t think politics could play into the process,” the PS said yesterday in an interview on the sidelines of the Sixth Africa Aviation Law Conference in Nairobi.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director general Gilbert Kibe said they are awaiting the final report from the FAA, which will determine if the direct flights to US will materialise.
“They are going to file the report in the next 30 days and give it to us. The report will tell us if we are going ahead,” Kibe said.
The FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment procedure concentrates on the processes and documentations of a country’s regulatory body.
The audit, Kibe said, focused on 300 items including the eight critical elements of safety oversight system, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The latest development now pushes direct flights from Kenya to the US to next year, as opposed to a previous prediction of November by the Transport ministry.
Transport PS Irungu Nyakera and CS James Macharia at the White Sands Hotel on July 14