The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was on Thursday officially presented with an authorisation letter as the last point of departure for US flights.
The letter, presented by US Ambassador Robert Godec, affirms that Kenya meets all the required Transport Security Administration security standards.
Godec, flanked by Transport CS James Macharia, said the United States will give the Kenya Airports Authority Sh150 million to aid in the provision of additional security, equipment, and training.
The letter was presented after JKIA last month achieved ‘Last Point of Departure’ status to allow the airport facilitate direct flights between Kenya and the US.
The development came in the wake of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his US counterpart Donald Trump’s bilateral talks at the White House.
“This is a major achievement for Kenya as JKIA becomes one of the elite African airports to be certified as a last point of departure to the United States,” KAA director general Jonny Andersen said.
Andersen, in a statement, said the first flight is scheduled to depart on October 28, 2018.
“Kenya Airways will now fly directly to the US, presenting new opportunities for Kenyans in travel, trade, and commerce,” he said.
CS Macharia said: “This is a great milestone not only for KQ but also the country. All stakeholders should be geared to protect this achievement.”
Macharia said the Transport ministry will embark on a plan to put an expressway from JKIA to the Central Business District in the next six months.
This, he said, will go a long way in dealing with the traffic jam visitors face when getting to the city.
He said the government will further as a commitment to the new status increase satellite airports across the country.
The CS said as Nairobi becomes the 7th city to get direct flights to Washington, the move is expected to open space for more competition.
Macharia said the number of tourists arrivals is expected to rise to 12 million annually from the current 7 million.