Aviation News Update – WikiLeaks got it wrong about Kenya Airways


The information WikiLeaks published about the alleged ‘blocking’ by Kenya Airways of direct flights by Sky Team alliance partner Delta between the US and Kenya are ‘outrageous and totally false’ according to a regular and highly placed source in Kenya Airways.

WikiLeaks documents suggest that KQ was opposed to flight to the US, conveniently forgetting key aspects which would make such flights possible, while at the same time working against their alliance partner’s intention to fly to Kenya via West Africa.

In the first instance, Kenya’s main airport in Nairobi is still awaiting FAA certification as a category one airport, and it is expected that only after the ongoing workscope by the Kenya Airports Authority is complete, that this can be achieved. Presently for instance are the passenger flows of arriving and departing travellers still meeting in the departure lounge levels, and this is a key demand, the clear separation of these two, before Cat 1 can be certified.

Secondly do the WikiLeaks documents overlook that Kenya Airways currently does not have the aircraft available to fly to the US, considering the years of delay of the delivery of the long ago ordered B787 aircraft. Until KQ’s fleet has expanded enough, they will not be able to add US flights, while reportedly being happy to enter into a code share with Delta, should that airline finally be given clearance to come to Nairobi.

It is here in particular, where the WikiLeaks documents appear extremely weak and far from reporting facts, as it was the US administration which on the eve of the planned inaugural flight stopped Delta from taking off – guests at both ends who had come to witness the occasion were told to go home again – citing obscure security reasons why and American airline could not fly into Kenya. This was in aviation circles in Kenya seen as a deliberate affront, considering that leading world airlines like BA, Virgin, Emirates, South African, Swiss, KLM and many others fly daily to Kenya without such concerns halting their operations.

Added the source in Nairobi: ‘KQ from what I know has no plans to fly soon to the US but would support Delta, as they are an alliance partner already. KQ’s plans, when new aircraft finally arrive, will be to expire and exchange the B767 fleet and concentrate on serving Europe, the Middle and Far East and Africa. Only when the fleet has grown substantially enough to dedicate an aircraft to a service to the US can the airline consider the route, and then maybe match Delta, I believe they wanted to initially come four times a week, with the alternate traffic days. That most likely would be a code shared service as KQ also does with partners to Europe and via Bangkok to Korea and Australia. Whatever the WikiLeaks documents allege, the source clearly has no understanding of how aviation works and is simply speculating over issues he or she knows nothing about’.

Ooops to that for WikiLeaks – for sure they got that one wrong …

5 Responses

  1. Do you have a link to the wikileak cable? There is none on the Kenya page of released cables, and all we have so far is the buisness daily story

  2. <> Very funny! If to this day Kenya is still awaiting for JKIA to obtain Category One airport certification as you correctly state, it is obvious that it did not have it (Cat 1) at the time. So, your aviation circle should learn that not the entire world works like in Kenya, so Delta was probably told “No Cat 1 airport, no flight”… pretty simple, no? I would recommend your aviation circle not to go wait for flights that cannot happen.

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