Kenya says has met all terms for direct US flights


A KQ plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE

Transport secretary James Macharia has said after a meeting with his US counterpart Antony Fox that Kenya has met all requirements to allow for direct flights between Nairobi and Washington.

The ministers discussed the progress that Kenya has made so far in attaining the Category One status, a pre-condition for allowing direct flights between the two countries.

The two, who met on the sidelines of Civil Aviation Assembly in Montreal, Canada, noted that most of the conditions that the US put in place had been met.

“All outstanding issues had been disposed of and the US would as soon as possible send the audit team for final confirmation and sign off,” said Mr Macharia in a statement.

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) officials were in the country last month, marking the third time this year that the auditors have visited Kenya to audit the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

READ: Balala says Kenya poised for direct US flights starting Feb

After the recent audit early this month, FAA is expected to report to the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA), which will set a date for the final audit of the airport to determine whether Kenya will be awarded the Category One status.

The officials were in the country in July but they could not give a greenlight for the final audit because of the pending legal issues.

Under the IASA programme, the FAA determines whether another country’s oversight of its air carriers that operate, or seek to operate in the US or codeshare with an American air carrier complies with safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Kenya has been implementing a raft of recommendations by the US government to enhance security, among them separation of passenger arrival and departure terminals, clearing the flight path and fencing off the airport.