American transport officials started the final audit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on Monday to assess security measures put in place ahead of direct flights between Kenya and the US slated for next year.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers will conduct the exercise up to Thursday to determine whether Kenya will be given the Last Point of Departure status.
This will be the second and final audit that holds the key for direct flights between the two states with officials at Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) expressing optimism that Kenya will pass the test.
“The auditing process started yesterday (Monday) where officials from TSA will be accessing the components of compliance on security,” said Nelson Njiri, a security manager at the KAA.
Some of the things that the official will focus on include documentation of the processes at the airport, security perimeter at the facility and access control measures put in place by the KAA.
If the TSA audit reveals that Kenya has made progress since the last review in 2016 then the JKIA would be issued with a certificate to not only allow Kenya Airways direct flights to the US from Nairobi but also other airlines approved by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The US officials will issue a preliminary report on success orally to the KAA management before reporting back to their authority and FAA.
The department was supposed to conduct security analyses of the JKIA in June but this was delayed due to August elections.
So far, Kenya has been granted two of the required four conditions to commence direct flights between Nairobi and the US.
The first one was in February when Kenya got a Category One status with the second one being the commercial authority to operate, which was granted to Kenya Airways recently.
The last hurdle will be the granting of Kenya Airways or any other airline an Air Operator Certificate by FAA after inspecting the carrier’s equipment and facilities. The FAA is expected to grant this certificate in January, according to the Ministry of Transport.
The national carrier has received “exemption authority” from the US Department of Transport, allowing its flights to the US provided it secures clearance from the FAA and other State agencies.
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