Wednesday, 16 July 2014

How soon KQ's direct flights to US?

Prototype of terminal 1A
 BY THE LOOK OF THINGS, Kenya-Airways could be allowed direct flights to the US soon. The negotiations to allow KQ direct flights to the US have been going on for a long time. However, now it seems to be a matter of when, not if, the authority will be granted. There is speculation that it could come sometimes in 2015.

 A flurry of goings-on point at this direction. The completion of Jomo Kenyatta international Ariport’s  unit 4, now renamed Terminal 1-A is one of them. The terminal will begin partial operations later this week.

Concomitant with this, the US government has donated bomb-detecting equipment to the airport. Kenyans have already been trained in the use of the 20 Desktop Explosive Trace Detectors.

The donation was an addition to the already advanced security features at the new terminal which address security concerns of the US government. The American security agents will monitor the security features of the terminal for the next three months.

The end of the Monitoring period will coincide with the completion of the terminal, making it fully operational.

The security features include separation of arriving and departing passengers. In the two-story Terminal 1-A, arrivals will use the second floor while departures will use the first floor. 


The separation will be enforced by use of bold signage directing arriving, departing and transiting passengers to their respective floors to ensure all passengers get to their destination on time, says a KAA internal document.

KWQ: How soon direct flights to US?
The Kenya Airport Authority’s handbook 2011-2012, says that the separation will involve building an additional floor in all four termini at the airport so that arriving passengers will be using their own floor separate from departing passengers. It will also include the construction of an airside corridor separating arriving and departing passengers.

 The new terminal will serve and additional 2.5 million passengers a year, bringing the total capacity of terminal one to 9 million passengers a year.
Apart from security features, the home airline, Kenya Airways is also gearing up for eventual authorization to fly directly to the US. It has acquired a fleet of long haul aircraft including the luxury Boeing Dreamliner. There is a huge Kenyan population in the US market.  Lack of direct flights hampers exports of Kenya produce to the US.
The terminal is slated to serve international departures and arrivals only.

An extended apron from terminal 1-A to cargo village will increase its capacity to load eight wide-bodied aircraft simultaneously. Currently the cargo village can load only three such aircraft. JKIA is the cargo hub of Africa handling some 30 million tons of Cargo a year.

 Nairobi has become the financial, manufacturing, medical, educational and diplomatic hub in the east and central Africa region. These factors put lots of pressure on the Airport to also modernize and become the aviation hub of Africa.

JKIA is also home base for Kenya Airways, one of the most successful airlines in Africa, and 46 other international and domestic airlines that fly to more than 100 destinations. It is the natural aviation hub of Africa.



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