Kenya and US have agreed on how to fast track the growth of the local aviation sector and achieve the crucial Category One status by August.

Transport Minister Amos Kimunya

Transport Minister Amos Kimunya said the Government and a team from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the United States of America Department of Transportation agreed during a meeting on Tuesday on a mechanism to attain the all-important safety rating.

He said as the first step towards attaining this category, the Government has reviewed the regulatory side of the local aviation industry and approved the re-organisation and restructuring of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to enable it attract and retain the requisite qualified technical staff.

“With this agreement, the country has to pass the all-important audit that will earn it Category One status by August,” the minister said during the official re-opening of British Airways Airport Lounge at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi Thursday.

Kimunya said attainment of the status would allow Kenyan carriers fly direct to the US, thereby reducing travelling time for passengers and make the country’s horticultural produce affordable in the States.

In 2009, Delta Airlines at the last minute cancelled its launch of direct flights from Nairobi and Atlanta, US, after failing to receive Transport Security Administration and US government approval.

TSA largely blamed concerns of Somali piracy along the Kenyan coasts for the cancellation.

Kimunya said the ongoing expansion of JKIA would also provide improved security to comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.

By John Oyuke, The Standard

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