Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze at parliament buildings appearing before the senate committee on roads and transportation inquiring into the affairs of the airline Apr 07 2016./HEZRON NJOROGE
KQ says on course in getting US direct flights
Kenya Airways has started the clearing process for direct flights to the US, CEO Mbuvi Ngunze has said.
The airline has to seek two crucial licenses-the Air Service License which gives it commercial approval and the Air Operating Certificate, which gives it technical authority to operate to the US.“We have begun the process and will let Kenyans know when we are done. Be patient as we undertake the procedure,” Ngunze said.
It will take KQ, as it is known by its international airline code, at least eight months to get clearance to fly directly to the US ,according to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
This makes December as the possible date for a maiden flight.
KQ, has to seek clearance from the US-Federal Aviation Administration before commencing flights to America.
The FAA awarded the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport “Category one” status on February 23. This is the mandatory status any airport requires to be allowed to handle direct flights to the US. JKIA also has to be granted the “last point of departure” license.
“The US has to audit the airline to ensure it has technical capacity to operate,” KCAA director general Gilbert Kibe told the Star on telephone.
He said American carriers will however take two to three months to be cleared to fly directly to Nairobi.
Kenya airways will also have to seek traffic rights and negotiate for slots and schedules at the airports they seek to land and take-off from.
The airline has however kicked off code sharing negotiations with its Skyteam Alliance partner and Amecican carrier – Delta Air Line, which could see it test the US market earlier, as it awaits clearance by the FAA.
“We are very pleased with getting category one and the process to have Kenya Airways fly directly to the US is ongoing,” Transport CS James Macharia said.Code sharing is an agreement between two or more airlines to list certain flights in a reservation system under each other’s names ( share the same flight). “ Kenya Airways is currently fast tracking the commercial evaluations and discussions with the relevant authorities to determine the viability and timings of operations to the US. When this is complete, we shall advise,” corporate communications manager Wanjiku Mugo told the Star.KQ is counting on its Boeing 787- Dreamliner fleet to fly directly to the US from Nairobi. Direct flights however does not mean non-stop travel.
Source: The Star