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Bilateral meeting

Kenya to discuss air links with United States

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Aug 30, 2011

(eTN) - A bilateral meeting between the United States and Kenya at the end of September will have aviation on the agenda, it was understood from a source in Nairobi.

The inexplicable cancellation of a Delta Airlines' inaugural flight in early 2010, ostensibly over obscure security concerns, caused consternation in Kenya’s government circles, more so considering the growing number of American tourists coming to East Africa and landing initially in Nairobi.

The reasons given were also soundly rejected by other airline executives in Kenya at the time - low-key, of course - considering the possible overkill reaction by the Americans when it comes to matters of national security.

The bilateral meeting, to be attended among others by the ministers responsible for tourism and for transport, will undoubtedly try to get the US to lift their objections and permit Delta to finally commence flights. With over 100,000 American tourists expected in Kenya this year, there is a growing commercial and economic reason for having direct airlinks alongside the traditional routes via Europe.

The same sources also commented on Kenya’s intention to have flights between Russia and Kenya resume. In the old days, Aeroflot regularly landed in Nairobi but has since shed the route while undergoing restructuring. With a growing number of visitors from Russia to Kenya, and via Nairobi into the region, there – as is the case with America – reasons to finally look again at direct flights and not leave the entire uplift to mainly Gulf carriers, which connect Russian cities several times a day to their hubs in Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain.

Kenya to discuss air links with United States

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