Direct Kenya-US flights near, says chamber official

Thursday February 5 2015

A Kenya Airways plane taxis on the runway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. US aviation officials will conduct a final review of security arrangements at the airport in March or April pending a decision on whether to allow direct flights.

A Kenya Airways plane taxis on the runway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. US aviation officials will conduct a final review of security arrangements at the airport in March or April pending a decision on whether to allow direct flights. FILE PHOTO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION CORRESPONDENT
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US aviation officials will conduct a final review of security arrangements at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in March or April pending a decision on whether to allow direct flights between Kenya and America, an official has said.

US Chamber of Commerce director of African affairs Danielle Walker told the Nation that talks between the chamber and President Uhuru Kenyatta last month focused on establishing a direct link between the two countries.

“It seems like the political will is there on the Kenyan side to resolve issues that led the US to cancel the planned start of direct flights nearly six years ago,” Ms Walker said.

She expressed optimism that clearance for Nairobi-US flights will be given sometime this year. Fear of terrorist attacks remains a major concern for American companies already operating in Kenya and for others considering a presence in the country, the chamber official added.

LOOKING TO DO BUSINESS

US firms “looking to do business in East Africa are taking a close look at Kenya” despite that concern, Ms Walker said. They recognise Nairobi’s status as the region’s commercial hub, she noted.

Efforts to strengthen security are evident in the streets of Nairobi, Ms Walker added.

Corruption also stands as a barrier to doing business in Kenya, she said.

She, however, said Kenya was making some progress in controlling graft, citing moves to put business procedures online as a means of promoting transparency.