Kenya´s parliament will next month tick the last boxes in the application process for approval of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for Category One status by the American FAA. Legislation is reportedly now ready to be tabled in the house after the committee for transport has put the final touches on the draft.
When signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta, this will then be the last missing link, and subsequent approval by the FAA is then expected soon afterwards.
Kenya has for several years now tried to secure this coveted status, which allows for direct flights to the United States, but at least twice failed to reach the required score vis-a-vis physical inspections of the airport.
With the launch, however, of the new Terminal 1, offering a complete separation of passenger flows between arriving and departing travelers and the launch of a second similar dedicated arrivals terminal for airlines other than Kenya Airways and their SkyTeam partners, the facilities are now in place to warrant Cat. 1 status.
It is expected that soon afterwards, America’s Delta Air Lines will revive plans to begin flights to Nairobi, and SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways is said to be actively looking at the US market for direct flights.
American tourists form one of the largest contingents for safaris in Kenya, in fact, in East Africa, and direct flights will reduce the traveling time compared to one-stop routes via Europe or worse, the Gulf.
Kenya Airways will no doubt be keen to tap into that market which hitherto was, as far as African airlines are concerned, the almost exclusive domain of Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways.