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Cablegate: Kenya Aviation Agencies Pick Up the Ball to Move Towards

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #4812/01 3540346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200346Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3958
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0121
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DOT WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FAA WASHDC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004812

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/E, AF/RSA, AF/EPS, AND EEB/TRA/AN
DEPT ALSO PASS TO DOT FOR CONNIE HUNTER
DEPT ALSO PASS TO USTR FOR BILL JACKSON
MONTREAL FOR USICAO
TSA FOR ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN

SIPDIS
FAA FOR DONNA KRIMSKI


SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON PTER ETRD PGOV KE
SUBJECT: KENYA AVIATION AGENCIES PICK UP THE BALL TO MOVE TOWARDS
CATEGORY 1 VIA SAFE SKIES PROGRAM

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) Summary: During December 6-7 meetings in Nairobi, Kenyan
aviation officials and officials from the U.S. DOT and FAA committed
to renewed close cooperation to enable Kenya to meet ICAO
requirements for Category 1 within 18 months. They also agreed to
work with the resident U.S. Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) officer to determine and meet the remaining security
requirements for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to be
designated as alast point of departure to the U.S. within 18
months. The National Transportation Safety Board will provide
training on accident investigation. Similar past Kenyan promises
were not fulfilled, but Delta Airlines' proposal to start New
York-Nairobi service in June 208, and President Kibaki's interest
in the economic benefits of direct U.S. flights, has energized the
GOK. If President Kibaki loses the December 27 election, or
aviation agency leaders are replaced, it may slow the process. End
Summary.

Safe Skies for Africa Program
-----------------------------
2. (SBU) The goal of U.S. Dept of Transportation's (DOT) Safe Skies
for Africa (SSFA) program in Kenya and with the East African
Community (EAC) is to help them meet International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) standards for safety and security oversight
(Category One) to position them for direct flights to the U.S., and
all the economic benefits that would accrue. Kenyan progress on the
agreed action plan towards this goal stalled in 2006-07. U.S.
Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger raised the issue with Kenyan
President Mwai Kibaki in mid-2007, and SSFA sent a letter to
aviation officials noting the requirements to be met and offering
further assistance, if Kenya devoted the necessary effort and
resources. In addition, Delta Airlines' announcement of plans to
start service to Kenya in June 2008 focused GOK attention on the
need to create an enabling environment for the flight.

Visit to Revitalize Kenyan Effort and SSFA Assistance
--------------------------------------------- --------
3. (U) At the prompting of Ministry of Transportation (MoT)
Permanent Secretary (PS) Gerishon Ikiara, Kenya Civil Aviation
Authority (KCAA) DG Chris Kuto invited the U.S. to send a senior
delegation to Kenya to get the program back on track. The following
U.S. officials participated in the December 6-8 meetings in
Nairobi:

- DOT DAS Susan McDermott;
- DOT SSFA Manager Connie Hunter;
- FAA Manager of International Programs and Policy Division Melvin
Cintron;
- FAA Office of the Chief Counsel India Pinkney;
- FAA SSFA program manager Bill Hess;
- FAA Desk Officer for East Africa Donna Krimski;
- FAA Africa regional rep Moira Keane;
- TSA East Africa rep for SSFA Gerald Moore;
- National Transportation Safety Board Dennis Jones; and,
- U.S. Embassy Nairobi Econ Officer Randy Fleitman

4. (U) KCAA DG Kuto personally chaired the meetings, bringing KCAA's
managers for safety, airworthiness, security, operations,
navigation, planning, human resources, public relations, and
consumer protection. Ministry of Transportation (MoT) PS Ikiara led
one session, and Ministry aviation officials attended all sessions.
The Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) was represented by Deputy Managing
Director Matthew Wamala, Security Manager Stanley Mutungi, and
Engineering Services Manager Stephen Gichuki. Kenya Airways (KQ)
sent Deputy Manager for Government Affairs Anthony Mwangi and Safety
Manager Alex Avedi to observe.

Offers Plan to Achieve Category 1 in 10 Months
---------------------------------------------
5. (SBU) After detailed discussion of the status of Kenya's efforts
to meet ICAO's eight critical safety requirements and Annex 17
security requirements, the two sides committed to renewed close
cooperation through the previously-agreed action plan to enable
Kenya to meet ICAO requirements for Category 1 within 18 months.
FAA Manager Mel Cintron said this would represent a normal pace of

progress. He gave a letter to DG Kuto proposing specific dates for
future workshops but offered to adjust the dates if Kenya could
accelerate the process. He appointed Bill Hess as FAA's Kenya team
leader. DG Kuto appointed a small team to coordinate with FAA and
produce a timetable to give to PS Ikiara and the EAC partners by
January 15. The legal and technical reviews and completion of
KCAA's technical guidance should completed by June 2008. Next would
be certification of KQ, which should take four to six months if KQ
is ready. (The KQ rep said they would be ready.)

6. (SBU) The Kenyan side also agreed to work with the resident TSA
officer to complete a formal baseline security report by February to
determine the remaining requirements for JKIA to be designated a
last point of departure. NTSB Jones offered to work with his MoT
counterpart to develop accident investigation guidelines by the end
of January. KCAA will send the training needs assessment for its new
inspectors to Connie Hunter.

Kenya Picks up the Ball
-----------------------
7. (SBU) DoT DAS McDermott told P.S. Ikiara and the Kenyan side that
the timetable to achieving Category 1 is in their hands. The U.S.
remains dedicated to Kenyan progress, and FAA and TSA will work with
them intensively as partners, but our resources are limited. The
GOK and KCAA must set themselves hard deadlines and realign their
budget to hire and retain the necessary inspectors, or use the
regional safety oversight body to achieve that goal. PS Ikiara
assured McDermott of Kenya's commitment. Delta's proposal and
pressure from KQ have made improving aviation a high priority, and
the political will is there. He tasked DG Kuto to coordinate
Kenya's effort and report regularly to him. KCAA has to complete
its staff structure review ASAP. Then it and KAA have to calculate
the costs involved in implementing the action plan so he can submit
a budget request to the Ministry of Finance.

Comment
-------
8. (SBU) It was encouraging to see PS Ikiara and DG Kuto commit to
an 18-month time line for completing the process for Kenya to meet
ICAO's safety oversight and security requirements to achieve
Category 1. Ikiara speculated for the first time that Kenya could
achieve Category 1 and security clearance before the JKIA expansion
project is completed. In the past, similar Kenyan promises were not
fulfilled. However, Delta Airlines' proposal to start New
York-Nairobi service in June 2008, and President Kibaki's interest
in the economic benefits of direct U.S. flights have energized the
aviation agencies. Even if Ikiara and Kuto are committed, the
process may be slowed if President Kibaki loses the December 27
election, or aviation agency leaders are replaced.

RANNEBERGER

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