Direct flights to US take off in April next year

Business Daily Kenya:  Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has expressed optimism that Kenya’s bid to have direct flights to United ...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia (centre) accomanied by his Principal secretary Maringa Mwangi (left) and Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Johnny Anderson during a tour of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Photo/Alice Mburu

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has expressed optimism that Kenya’s bid to have direct flights to United States will come to fruition by April next year after the country complied with the security measures ahead of a scheduled assessment of the preparedness of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in October.

Yesterday, the CS together with the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director Johnny Andersen toured the newly-modernised and expanded Terminal 1A and 1E for arrivals and departures to get a feel of the enhanced security and other infrastructure at the facility.

Category one Two years ago JKIA was given Category One status after a number of reviews by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), making Kenya the fourth country in Africa to achieve the feat.

This allowed US Transport Security Administration (TSA) to schedule an assessment of JKIA this month to test its readiness for direct flights but the exercise was postponed to October.

“We were ready for the assessment but TSA postponed to October. We are positive that we will be granted the Last Point of Departure (LPD) status, which will allow for direct flights to the US by April 2018,” Macharia said.

Separation of departure section from arrivals were some of the measures introduced in Terminal 1A and 1E according to Andersen. The government has also invested heavily in setting up new and modern security system and brought in new scanners for the screening of passengers and baggage.

“We have brought in the new generation 3D scanner machine that is able to screen passengers at 360 angles within seconds. In the baggage handling system, we have the new generation security screening machines capable of screening more bags within a very short time,” said Andersen. The CS also said government is set to upgrade Terminal B C and D to the same level as Terminal 1A and 1E.

This will expand the capacity of JKIA to handle more than 14 million passengers by the year 2023 from the current 7.5 million passengers annually. Plans are at an advanced stage for construction of a second runway which will handle larger aircraft as government seek to make JKIA an aviation hub in Africa and earn Nairobi the Airport City status.

“The expansion of this three terminals and construction of a second runway will actually prove the Greenfield Terminal project was not a priority. It will be cheaper to expand and modernise these terminals,” the CS said.

“We have already identified a financier for the project, African Development Bank, and design work is complete. The works will start in the next three or so months, after the tendering process is completed,” he added.

The post Direct flights to US take off in April next year appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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