[Kenya] Jomo Kenyatta International Airport granted category one status
Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has received category one status after a final assessment audit by the US Federal Aviation Administration which now means that Kenyans can now fly directly to the United States after waiting for eight years.
The move is expected to see both Kenya Airways, and America’s Delta Airlines fly directly from Kenya to US and vice versa unlike currently where passengers must transit through Europe or the Middle East.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had previously audited JKIA and given an 88 per cent score, placing it above the 80 per cent mark required for any airport to attain category one status.
The US Federal Aviation Administration uses the International Aviation Safety Administration (IASA) programme to determine whether another country that seek to operate into the US or codeshare with a US air carrier, meets ICAO safety standards.
Kenya’s main airport was expected to meet eight critical elements in the IASA assessments touching on primary aviation legislation, specific operating regulations, state civil aviation system and safety oversight functions.
Others are technical personnel qualification and training, technical guidance, provision of safety critical information, licensing, certification, authorisation and approval obligations, surveillance obligations and resolution of safety concerns.
The government has been spending heavily at refurbishing JKIA with investments of about Sh1.3 billion in new security equipment as well as about Sh9 billion to build Terminal 1 and the fabricated Terminal Two.
Kenya scored 88 per cent in a security audit by the ICAO conducted between September 17 and 24, 2015, above the minimum 80 per cent required mark.
This was after failing in previous audits where ICAO gave JKIA 78.42 per cent February last year, up from 66 per cent in 2013.
Kenya had granted a licence to Delta Airlines of the US for direct flights from Atlanta in 2009, but the airline was refused permission by the US government, citing security concerns.
Kenya Airways is interested in launching long-haul flights to the US. Other countries in the continent with Category One status are South Africa, Cape Verde, Ethiopia and Nigeria.