By KENNEDY KANGETHE, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8 – Kenya Airways has received a final order from the United States of America Department of Transportation giving the airline permission to fly both passengers and cargo directly.
The order is part of the process to commence flights to the US which is still ongoing with more approval stages that are expected to be concluded soon.
Kenya Airways Commercial Director Vincent Coste says the airline is working with both the Kenyan Ministry of Transport and US authorities to ensure all requirements are met.
“This approval by the DOT has been achieved thanks to the hard work of great individuals within all the departments of KQ. I am confident that our team will complete the next milestones with the same success and allow us to operate non-stop flights to the US in 2018,” he said.
The airline now awaits other crucial licenses to see it fly to the US by March 2018.
The national carrier was granted air traffic rights to the United States airspace in July 2017.
The airline has to seek clearance from the US-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before commencing flights to America.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) attained ‘category one’ status on February 23, 2017, having met the mandatory status required by US authorities.
Under former US President Barrack Obama’s administration, trade and investments between Kenya and the US recorded remarkable growth, with net imports increasing by 206.4 per cent from the previous administration, highlighting the improved activity in trade between the two nations.
Imports from the US increased by 90.4 per cent, faster than exports to the US, which grew by 81.9 per cent, an indication that Kenya depends more on the US; and with over 96 investment projects in Africa worth $6.9bn (Sh702 billion) as at 2015, the US remains to be the single largest investor in Africa.
Kenya receives a large proportion of these investments and as at 2015; Kenya recorded a 12.3 per cent share of Africa’s Foreign Direct Investment.
Moreover, the United States is also the number one source market for Kenya’s tourists and the move will greatly increase the number of tourists coming to the Kenyan market.