East Africa welcomes Kenya to US direct flight
Published On 12 Jan, 2018



Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has reached its Category One status enabling the airline for direct flights between Kenya and US.

Government Officials from East Africa and aviation companies that have been operating in the region have welcomed this development, saying it will boost trade, tourism and customer satisfaction.

Nairobi has been granted by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) top status after taking out a progressive evaluation audits within the country.

Kenya’s transport minister, James Macharia, expressed his view concerning the category one status, that it will enable growth in Kenya’s aviation industry.

“Getting [the] Category One status for us is a major milestone in the growth and development of civil aviation in Kenya, East Africa and rest of Africa, The granting of this status means that airline operators, both in Kenya and US, which have long desired to operate directly to or from the US, will now be allowed to carry on their operations,” he said.

Burundi’s Minister of Transport and Public Works Jean Bosco Ntunzenimana appreciated the news, saying it was a welcome development and it would help to cut time and money for the country’s exporters in future.

Another major airline in the EAC, RwandAir, express their interest passing through Kenya as an opportunity the airline can explore.

Though according to the director general of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Gilbert Kibe, it may be a while before Kenya Airways commences direct flights to the US, give or take, eight months but he is positive that customers, airlines and governments are sure to benefit from this Kenyan aviation win.

Direct flights to the US will significantly reduce the time taken to move cargo between the US and East Africa — from seven days to as little as a day.

In Africa, few countries like Cape Verde, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria have direct flights to the US.

To attain and maintain top ratings in the aviation industry, a country must show concession with the safety degree as assumed and written in the ICAO documents — a United Nations specialised agency for aviation that started international standards and approved practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

According to Astral Aviation chief executive officer Sunjeev Gadhia, he said. “If the US allows Kenya’s bid to have direct flights then we will save up to 20 per cent on our cargo operation cost,”

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