Parliament clears deal for KQ route expansion in US


A KQ Dreamliner aircraft. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Parliament has approved a new deal, which will see Kenya Airways expand its route network in the US beyond New York.

MPs last evening voted to endorse the signing of the agreement that will also allow the Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) of the US to start cargo operations and establish a base in Kenya.

Kenya Airways operates scheduled passenger air services between Nairobi and New York.

There is no airline from the US that flies to Kenya currently. FedEx has expressed interest to establish a base at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The MPs backed a Cabinet decision to amend the air services agreement between two countries, paving the way for Nairobi and New York to append their final signatures.

Kenya signed the deal with the US on February 5, 2020, proposing to revise an earlier agreement inked in Washington DC on June 8, 2008.

The pact will allow national airlines such as Kenya Airways to access US routes and American carriers to access the Kenyan market.

“It is in the interest of the country to ratify the agreement to allow the airlines to expand their route network and engage in commercial arrangements as well as create job opportunities,” Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia told MPs in a memo seeking ratification of the agreement.

In seeking MPs’ nod, the Transport ministry argued ratification of the agreement would enhance trade and commerce, tourism, market access and connectivity, investment interests, and cooperation between the two States.

The National Assembly’s Transport Committee, in a report to the full House, said the commencement of FedEx cargo operations and a base in Kenya would have a multiplier effect on the Kenyan economy as it will open up immense opportunities for Kenyans.

The team said the agreement would open expanded operations and markets for Kenya and US air operators, facilitate the movement of goods, passengers, and mail, offering more flexibility in meeting demands and customer needs.