By CHAD KITUNDU
Kenyan travelers flying to the United States must now arrive at airports three hours before the flight to undergo enhanced security checks and interviews.
The move comes after the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked 180 airlines from 105 countries in June to carry out thorough pre-flight security checks of passengers through interviews and screening.
Passengers will be subject to the new security checks and interviews at the airlines’ ticket desks regarding their travel, duration of stay, addresses in the US and a few other security-related questions.
Lufthansa, Emirates, Air France and Norwegian Air confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that US authorities had asked for tougher controls at departure airports for non-stop flights to the United States.
Other carriers issued statements also confirming the new measures.
“In addition to the controls of electronic devices already introduced, travelers to the USA might now also face short interviews at check-in, document check or gate,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said.
“The implementation will took place on October 26. The security of our passengers and staff is our top priority.”
Emirates said passengers would be subjected to “pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter” whereas Air France said it expected to apply an additional “security interview.”
The new measures came as President Donald Trump’s administration is working to toughen controls on refugees and immigrants amid worries that jihadist groups like Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are both trying to send potential attackers into the United States and to smuggle bombs on board a US-bound flight.
On Tuesday, Trump issued an executive order ending a moratorium on refugee arrivals but re-imposing controls on those coming from 11 countries, most of them with Muslim majorities.
Last week US lawmakers from the House Homeland Security Committee visited airports in Europe and the Middle East to inspect security conditions and discuss counter-terror cooperation.
“The timing of this visit to Europe and the Middle East was critical, as terrorists remain intent on taking down aircraft,” said Representative John Katkoin a statement Wednesday.
“We must do all that we can to stay ahead of the evolving threat to the global aviation sector.”