It’s all systems go for KQ as it gets final nod for direct US flights


A Kenya Airways plane at the JKIA in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, is set to issue national carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ with the final permit to operate direct flights to America Thursday.

TSA has authority over the security of the travelling public in the United States.

“The Kenya Airways is set receive the final TSA Letter that will issue them final authorisation to fly directly to New York,” said KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, yesterday.

“The letter will be handed to KQ by US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec,” added the statement.

Kenya was in February last year granted Category One status as officials from America’s Federal Aviation Administration gave approval for non-stop direct flights between the two countries.

This set the stage for Kenya Airways and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to begin going through the final regulatory hurdles before the take-off of the first flight from Nairobi to the US.

KQ announced that it will deploy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the route, which has the capacity to carry up to 335 passengers in a three-class seating configuration.

There has been excitement in the local aviation sector ahead of the October inaugural flight.

As at August 20, about 7,000 travellers had booked seats on KQ’s direct flights to New York ahead.

The long-haul flights will last 15 hours, representing a seven-hour reduction from the current flight time of over 22 hours, including lengthy stopovers.