Macharia says direct flights to the US to start in November

Health CS James Macharia
Health CS James Macharia

The first flight to fly directly from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the United States is expected to take off in November.

This is after the Ministry of Transport and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority met all the conditions set out by the United States federal aviation administration (FAA).

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said an audit team from the FAA will be in the country next week for a final audit before JKIA can be granted category 1 status.

“Out of the 149 conditions set, we have met all 149 of them and we have nothing outstanding. By the end of November we should have the maiden flight from Nairobi to either New York or Atlanta,” Mr Macharia said.

Kenya has been chasing direct access to the US for close to a decade with slow reforms and re design of JKIA largely slowing down the process.

Once the FAA completes its audit, it is expected to communicate the finding under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.

The assessment will determine whether Kenya’s security standards are up to par ensuring that carriers headed to the U.S comply with its own safety standards.

President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Civil Aviation Act two weeks ago as the final piece of legislation needed to get the direct access.

“This act allows most of the powers to go to the DG of the Civil Aviation Authority away from the political establishment, meaning the cabinet secretary,” Mr Macharia said.

Changes to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport include an all-round fence as well as enhanced round the clock security as well as clear separation of arriving and departing passengers.

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