(eTN) – The Kenya Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Najib Balala, has expressed his hope that a fresh round of bilateral talks on direct flights between Kenya and the United States would eventually result in such flights being launched, following the failed attempt by Delta in past years to connect the US to Nairobi via West Africa. While such flights to West Africa did go ahead to places like Monrovia even, Nairobi was “blacklisted” according to a well-informed US source over “security concerns.”
Presently, over 100,000 Americans visit Kenya, regularly defying state department anti-travel advisories, which are also thought to be a political tool and have lost much of its credibility in recent years due to regular “overuse.”
According to the minister, Kenya’s arrivals from the US could more than double in years to come as direct or even nonstop flights would make it more attractive for Americans to travel to East Africa without the present stopover in Europe, the Gulf, or the three African airports of Johannesburg, Cairo, and Addis Ababa, from where nonstop services fly daily into key American cities.
Other airlines have dismissed the “concerns” by the Americans over safety and security of air travel in Kenya as “a shallow and blatant attempt to dress up other political issues,” claiming that they are flying daily into Nairobi. Leading global airline giants like Emirates, Qatar, British Airways, Swiss, KLM/Air France, Brussels Airlines, Virgin, South African, Ethiopian, and many others land every day at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and yet more airlines are planning to come to Kenya. The facilities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are due to be dramatically enlarged, including a second runway and an additional brand-new passenger terminal, to cater to such an influx, cementing Nairobi’s standing as THE aviation hub in Eastern Africa.