Kenya sets up team to boost regional aviation hub status


Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya has established a multi-sectoral committee to reinforce the efficiency and security of its international air services as it positions itself as a regional hub.

Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia said the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority will host the secretariat of the team to be known as the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee whose members will include officers from the security and intelligence agencies as well as the Immigration Services Department, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Tourism Board.

The team will also comprise protocol officers from the Foreign Affairs ministry, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, Health ministry and representatives of airline operators.

“It is notified for the information of the general public that pursuant to the provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) (Chicago, 1944) Article 37 and Annex 9 thereto, the Cabinet secretary for Transport has established the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee,” he said in a notice on Friday.

The team will be tasked with developing and reviewing policies relating to clearance formalities applied to international air transport services, ensuring the development and implementation of the National Air Transport Facilitation Programme besides ensuring that passengers, cargo and mail are cleared through airports in line with ICAO standards and best international practices.

Kenya is priming itself as the region’s main air travel hub.

Kenya attained category one status in 2018 after years of false starts, enabling the national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) to fly directly to the US.

To attain and maintain the top rating, a country must demonstrate compliance with the safety standards as adopted and contained in ICAO documents — a United Nations specialised agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

In September 2018, Kenya Airways was finally cleared to begin direct flights to the US after receiving the last Point of Departure confirmation — affirming that the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport meets the security standards of the American Transport Security Administration. This saw KQ become the first airline to offer a non-stop flight from East Africa to the US.

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