ND044 – Kenya Airways takes huge step towards direct flights to the United States
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Kenya Airways takes huge step towards direct flights to the United States

Kenya Airways is now close to offering direct flights to the United States after it was issued with a permit by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The permit allows the national carrier to make direct flights from any point in Kenya to the US, which half the traveling could time. Only two more regulatory hurdles stand in the path of a maiden direct flight.

Direct flight to the United States will soon be possible

Kenya’s Transport Secretary James Macharia has expressed confidence in clearing these final steps. The DOT has granted Kenya Airways permission to transport persons, property and mail to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Director of the department Brian Hedberg confirmed the order was effected on September 5.

However, Macharia stated that there are still two pending approvals by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before direct flights to the US could begin. “There are two more steps which are not as onerous as the first two,” he told The Saturday Nation.

The pending approval by the TSA is hanging on an ongoing audit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. The airport needs to be certified as secure as a “last point of departure” for flights heading to the US. By the end of October, this inspection is expected to be conducted.

The last hurdle will be passing the inspection of the FAA. The office has to grant Kenya Airways an Air Operator Certificate after checking the carrier's equipment and facilities. It is expected that the FAA should grant this certificate by January. "This approval by the DOT has been achieved thanks to the hard work of great individuals within all the departments of Kenya Airways. 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", said commercial director Vincent Coste. Kenya has been trying to get direct flights to the US for more than ten years. This would cut the traveling time to nine hours a journey, which at the moment takes as much as 19 hours. Travelers are routed through Europe, the Middle East or South Africa to get to the United States.

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