Kenya Airways has moved an inch closer to flying direct flights to the United States, after the Department of Transportation (DOT) granted it the first set of licenses.
The Airline has received “exemption authority” license from the DOT, granting it a nod to launch flights to the US so long as it secures clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other applicable State agencies.
Further, the DOT granted KQ a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP), subject to clearance from several United States security, aviation and border agencies.
The Foreign Air Carrier Permit is the more permanent license, with a duration-tied bilateral aviation arrangement between the US and an applicant’s homeland or a minimum of five years, where such a pact does not exist.
“The authority sought by the applicant is encompassed by the US-Kenya Air Transport Agreement,” the DOT has said.
“We, therefore, find that grant of the requested exemption authority, for a two-year term, or until the requested permit authority becomes effective, whichever occurs earlier, is warranted,” it added.
Kenya Airways is targeting June 2018 for the inaugural landing in Nairobi after submitting application for direct flights in April.
KQ is expected to initially collaborate with an American airline (most likely Delta Airlines) through code-sharing as it prepares for independent flights.