National carrier, Kenya Airways, has been granted a permit to operate direct flights to the United States of America.
According to an order issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the permit became effective on September 5.
Kenya Airways in a statement said the order was part of the process to commence flights to the US.
The recent approval grants the airline permission to fly both passengers and cargo and is part the many approval stages that are expected to be concluded soon.
“This approval by the DOT has been achieved thanks to the hard work of great individuals within all the departments of KQ. I am confident that our team will complete the next milestones with the same success and allow us to operate non-stop flights to the US in 2018”, said Kenya Airways Commercial Director Vincent Coste.
The Department of Transportation had in June recommended that KQ, as the airline is commonly known, be granted the permit if there were no public objections.
The President of the United States was also given a 61-day window to disapprove the permit, if he so wished. No objection had been given by the time the window expired on September 05.
The Department of Transportation now says that it has given KQ a foreign air carrier permit “to engage in: Scheduled and charter foreign air transportation of persons, property, and mail from any point or points behind Kenya, via any point or points in Kenya and any intermediate points, to any point or points in the United States and beyond”.
Kenya was in February granted Category One status as officials from America’s Federal Aviation Administration gave approval for non-stop direct flights between the two countries.
This set the stage for Kenya Airways and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to begin going through the final regulatory hurdles before the take-off of the first flight from Nairobi to the United States.
In June, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that officials from the United States would come to Kenya in October to carry out the final audit of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Kenya Airways has received a final order from the United States of America Department of Transportation.