Kenya working towards conditions needed for direct flights to US
Kenya is yet to meet all conditions needed to allow for direct flights to the United States of America.
This has prompted the Government to look at the regulatory side of the aviation industry and align it to international standards called category one.
“The government has approved the re-categorisation and restructuring of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority as the first step towards attaining category one status,” Transport minister, Amos Kimunya said.
Category one status is the threshold required and recognised by the US to allow for aircraft to fly over its airspace.
Mr Kimunya said he met with authorities from the US on Tuesday and deliberated on outstanding issues to be met by Kenya before being granted the green-light to launch direct flights.
He was speaking during the official launch of the refurbished British Airways lounge at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Thursday.
The minister said the flights would reduce travelling time by passengers plying the two countries and the cost of horticultural produce in the US from Kenya.
Currently, the airport is limited by facilities to separate the arrivals and departure sections of the airport. The need for separation became more pronounced after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
The aviation authority has also been riddled with personnel problems due to its incapacity to retain qualified staff.
The authority has faced an exodus of flight operators, inspectors and other technical experts because it cannot meet market pay rates.
The few that are available are absorbed by other private entities who offer them a better pay.