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secretary general laments lack of flights

East Africa Community decries lack of US air connections

wolfgang h. thome, etn  Jun 01, 2010

The secretary general of the target="_blank">East African Community (EAC) lamented last week the lack of direct air links between the United States and member states of the EAC, in spite of the two countries being cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for such connections. Although the US has supported the EAC to update their aviation regulations in recent years, assisted in the establishment of CASSOA (Civil Aviation Safety and Security Agency), and supported the introduction of sophisticated immigration technology - details of which are reportedly regularly shared as a matter of course with US authorities - no flights have commenced yet.

Delta Air Lines of the US was all set to start flights to Nairobi last year, only to pull out on the eve of the inaugural flight over obscure security concerns, which in retrospect rather looked like a political tool by the US administration to express their concerns over other issues in their relations with Kenya.

In contrast, neighboring Ethiopia has direct airlinks by Ethiopian Airlines with the US, as has Egypt and South Africa - a strong incentive for the East African region to strive and equally gain access to the US marketplace through direct connections. It is high time Eastern Africa got direct airlinks with the United States to avoid having to route via Europe or other way points and ensure a regular flow of tourist and business visitors to the region.

East Africa Community decries lack of US air connections
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