The National Assembly has endorsed a Cabinet decision to amend the existing air services agreement between Kenya and the US.
Kenya and the US signed a deal on February 5th, 2020, proposing to make changes to an earlier agreement signed in Washington in 2008.
The amendment will pave the way for Kenyan airlines such as Kenya Airways (KQ) to access more US routes and American carriers to access the Kenyan market. KQ currently operates direct flights between Nairobi and New York City.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said no American airline flies into Kenya at the moment, but the ratification of the agreement will allow carriers such as Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) to establish a base in Kenya.
FedEx has expressed interest in starting cargo operations in Nairobi and looks to establish an operation base at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
“It is in the interest of the country to ratify the agreement to allow the airlines to expand their route network and engage in commercial arrangements as well as create job opportunities,” CS Macharia said in a memo to MPs.
The Transport Ministry said the ratification of the pact will boost trade and commerce, tourism, market access and connectivity, investment interests, and cooperation between the two countries.
In a report to the House, the National Assembly’s Transport Committee said the launch of FedEx cargo operations and a base in Kenya would open up immense opportunities for Kenyans.
It noted that the agreement will expand operations and markets for Kenya and US air operators, facilitate the movement of goods, passengers, and mail, and offer more flexibility in meeting demands and customer needs.
The committee recommended the approval of the ratification of the treaty, saying that it is in Kenya’s best interest.