Kenya Airways gets US Govt. nod for direct flights

A Kenya Airways plane taxiing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. PHOTO| COURTESY

National carrier Kenya Airways has cleared the last hurdle in its quest to operate direct flights to the United States of America.

This after the US Department of Transport issued Kenya Airways with the foreign air carrier permit enabling the airline operate direct flights.

With the permit, Kenya Airways will be able to handle both passenger and cargo transport to and from America.

The move marks a major milestone for the national carrier which has been pushing for direct flights as part of its strategy to diversify its markets and boost passenger numbers.

“The holder shall also be authorized to engage in other charter trips in foreign air transportation, subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of the Department’s regulations governing charters,” the US Department of Transport said in a statement.

Kenya Airways had applied for the permit earlier in the year after the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was awarded a category one status by the US government.

A final audit of JKIA is scheduled to take place in October.

Kenya Airways had earlier indicated that it targeted to start operations to the US in the first half of 2018, to coincide with the start of summer travel.

The Ministry of Tourism has been conducting familiarization tours for US based tour operators to lure American tourists to Kenya, with the direct flights key to taping the market.

Kenya Airways had indicated that it is likely to enter a code share agreement with one of its Sky Team partners to operate the flights.

Delta Air Lines, a member of Sky Team, is seen as KQ likely partner to operate direct flights.

More to follow……

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