Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) has formally unveiled plans to make its United States debut, using its own metal, in April 2018.

In its application to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for exemption authority and a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP), the Skyteam member carrier says that prior to the launch of said service, it plans to serve the United States via a codeshare agreement with what it termed, “a duly authorized and properly supervised U.S. or foreign air carrier”.

As such, the Kenyan national carrier has sought permission to engage in scheduled and charter foreign air transportation of persons, property, and mail from any point or points behind Kenya, via any point or points in Kenya and any intermediate points, to any point or points in the United States and beyond. The application was made possible after Kenya secured a Category 1 rating under the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program in February.

In terms of intercontinental services, Kenya Airways serves Amsterdam, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Dubai Int’l, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok, Jeddah, London Heathrow, Mumbai Int’l, and Paris CDG. Its widebody fleet, having rid itself of unwanted B777-200(ER)s and B777-300(ER)s, now consists of just seven B787-8s.

Should the DOT and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) greenlight Kenya Airways’ application, it will become one of three East African carriers vying for North American traffic.

At present, Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) is fully established in the market serving Los Angeles Int’l, Newark, and Washington Dulles in the United States and Toronto Pearson in Canada from its Addis Ababa hub. It is recalled that RwandAir (WB, Kigali) recently filed its own application for exemption authority as well as an FACP ahead of its proposed US debut in August 2018