Kenya has been pushing for certification for direct flights to the US and that has yielded fruits as direct flights from Nairobi to New York’s JFK Airport will be launched in early May, 2017.
This came after Kenya Airways formally requested the US federal aviation department for a licence to fly directly to the US, Daily Nation reports.
According to Kenya's Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the application was presented at the US Embassy in Nairobi and that Kenya Airways aircraft and its crew will be rated and reviewed before the licence is issued.
Kenya invested billions of shillings to improve infrastructure at Jomo Kenyatta airport from runways and perimeter wall. The departure and arrival terminals were also separated and modern security equipment installed.
According to Mr Macharia, America’s Delta Airlines, which had been granted approval for direct flights to Kenya in 2009, would enjoy automatic renewal of its licences.
He said Jomo Kenyatta Airport’s licence as a last point of departure means that foreign airlines can apply to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority for permits to Kenya directly.
Nairobi based airlines will enjoy increased traffic as more people travelling between the US and Africa would prefer using Nairobi, shortening the Kenya-US journey from 19 hours via Amsterdam to nine hours.
In February, we reported that the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi has received Category One status approval from USA's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following audit and assessment.
However, according to US officials in Washington, Kenya must still clear several regulatory hurdles before direct or nonstop flights to the United States can begin.
Kenya Airways is yet to make an official announcement to this effect.