Delta Denied Permission to Fly Direct to Nairobi

Delta are postponing their arrival to Kenya again and Liberia as well. It’s been a long wait for Delta to come to Kenya, with the resultant direct flight to US and what’s a few more months? That Liberia was included in the statement that cited insecurity matters kind of cushions the blow.

And what are some of the insecurities that maybe caused the department oh homeland security to put a pause on the route? Shashank has a nice post on security at JKIA – -i.e. the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – in Nairobi
That the situation in neighboring Somalia is escalating again, probably makes US security officials want to put as much distance between the US and East Africa – and by having more than one airport e.g. Amsterdam, Dubai, London filtering passengers from East Africa is a safer way than having them walk into Atlanta directly from Nairobi.

2009 still looks like a good year for investments to Kenya and Delta will be more than welcome when they do land. The competition will be welcome here, and I like that Delta has a corporate blog that will perhaps rub off on some of our local airlines with PR woes.


excerpts from the Official Statement

Delta Africa cancellations from Delta Corporate Communications

ATLANTA, June 2, 2009 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has been notified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the Transportation Security Administration will require more time to approve Delta’s planned direct flights to Nairobi, Kenya and Monrovia, Liberia. Delta in response issued the following statement:

“Delta regrets any inconvenience to our customers caused by the postponement of our new direct service to Kenya and Liberia. The airline is proactively contacting customers to reaccommodate them on long-established connecting flights offered by our joint venture partners Air France-KLM and other SkyTeam member airlines, which carry Americans to these destinations in Africa through their European hubs.

“Delta appreciates DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s continued focus on finalizing approvals for Delta’s direct service to Africa as quickly as possible. Delta in October 2008 notified the U.S. government of its plans to offer new service to Kenya and Liberia. However, Delta was informed only yesterday by DHS that it would require additional time to approve these new flights.

“Africa continues to be an important region for Delta. Delta is the only airline offering scheduled service between the United States and Africa, currently serving six destinations in five countries: Accra, Ghana; Cairo, Egypt; Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; and Dakar, Senegal. This week Delta upgraded its service between Atlanta and Johannesburg, South Africa, to a nonstop flight operated with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft featuring 180-degree full flat seats in its BusinessElite cabin.”

6 thoughts on “Delta Denied Permission to Fly Direct to Nairobi


    Hmmm…it seems convenient to blame the delay on Somalia. Somalia has been a trouble spot for years, what new incident has sparked this ‘sudden’ change of heart? Nevertheless, I hope they can figure things out as soon as possible so as to ensure safe flights to and from Nairobi.

  2. Anonymous

    Typical paranoia of the US government. I wonder how all the Americans in Kenya arrived there? I am fed up with the continual hypocrisy of this country. There are many more Americans killed on the streets of this country then have been killed in Kenya. Come to think of it, travel should now be banned to US National Parks with gun toting “cowboys” all around with hidden weapons.

  3. Maishinski

    I support US government on their decision.

    US flights attract terrorists like magnets attract nails – hence we stand to lose more should a terrorist attack occur at JKIA.

    A lot of work needs to be done and its a shame KAA and other Gov Authorities has been asleep while Ethiopia (supposedly one of the poorest countries) slowly overtakes Kenya in infrastructure projects (Modern Roads Projects, Airports etc).

    Impunity, corruption, crime, political instability, colonial laws, internalized racism (easy for a white person to sneak a bomb to JKIA – police dont check “muzungus”), and lack of systems/institutions are some of the challenges to consider.

    Lets not hoodwink ourselves about the mess our country is in.

    Ati protest. Then the same people send 15 delegates to Geneva for a 5 minutes meeting at a cost that can FEED ONE THOUSAND STARVING PEOPLE FOR THREE MONTHS! Few days later we shall hear of appeals to donors for food aid…

    Sickening. Shameful. Upsetting. Maddening.

    These old men must go. Vijana mko wapi?

  4. bankelele

    SOLOMONSYDELLE: Reasons so far include Somalia, JKIA, and even ‘cold feet’ at Delta for commerial reasons

    Maishinski: I know US interests are targered, but there are so many of them in Kenya, that one more would hardly merit notice. Air security (even at JKIA) can be escalated for Delta

    Mama Shujaa: hope they get flying soon, I know lots of interested people

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