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Cablegate: Delta Announces New York-Nairobi Service Starting June

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #3968 2771442
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041442Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2745
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1290
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4249
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RULSDMK/DOT WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FAA WASHDC
RUEAYOK/FAA AERONAUTICAL CENTER OKLAHOMA CITY OK
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0110

UNCLAS NAIROBI 003968

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E, AF/RSA, AF/EPS, EB/TPP/BTA, AND EB/TRA/AN DEPT ALSO
PASS TO DOT FOR CONNIE HUNTER AND FAA FOR KEITH GLATZ
DEPT ALSO PASS TO USTR FOR BILL JACKSON
DEPT ALSO PASS TO USITC
DAKAR FOR FAA REP MO KEANE
DHS FOR TSA ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN
MONTREAL FOR ICAO OFFICER FAUX-GABLE

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR AGOA ECON ETRD PTER KE
SUBJECT: Delta Announces New York-Nairobi Service Starting June
2008

REF: STATE 135337

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. FOR USG USE ONLY.

1. (U) This is an action request. See para 6.

2. (SBU) Summary: U.S. carrier Delta Airlines has announced plans
for Nairobi-New York service via Dakar starting in June 2008. Since
Kenya is an FAA Category 2 country, Nairobi passengers, luggage and
cargo must be offloaded, checked, and re-loaded in Dakar. The
Government of Kenya has separately requested bilateral aviation
service negotiations in November. Delta's proposed service would
boost trade and tourism in Kenya with the U.S., but could reduce
Kenya's incentive to implement the overdue reforms needed to achieve
Category 1. End summary.

3. (U) On September 26, Delta Airlines announced plans to start New
York-Nairobi service via Dakar, Senegal effective June 2, 2008.
Delta will apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT),
Kenya, and Senegal for economic authority to fly the route. The
Kenya Airport Authority welcomed Delta's announcement as a vote of
confidence in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). Delta
Airlines will fly four times weekly to and from JKIA and JFK
airports using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Flights leaving Nairobi
will stop in Dakar for 90 minutes before departing for New York.
Delta's special introductory one-way fare to Nairobi of $859 is
about the same level as flights via Europe, so it is not clear
whether competition from Delta will reduce fares.

4. (U) Although neither Kenya nor Senegal has achieved FAA Category
1 status, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has
inspected and approved Dakar Airport. Delta can fly from Dakar to
New York, but incoming Nairobi passengers, luggage and cargo must be
offloaded, checked, and re-loaded in Dakar. TSA assessed security
at Dakar airport and Delta airlines in June 2007, and TSA will
assess them regularly assessed starting in June 2008.

5. (SBU) The Government of Kenya (GOK) also requested bilateral air
services negotiations to take place in November. Senior GOK
aviation officials told FAA officials on the margins of the recent
ICAO Assembly that pressure from Kenya Airways spurred the GOK to
ask for air services negotiations and pursue Category 1 status more
effectively. Embassy is in the process of delivering reftel
demarche requesting that the GOK consider negotiating an Open Skies
Agreement. Separately, DOT Safe Skies for Africa Program
Coordinator sent Transportation Ministry Permanent Secretary Ikiara
and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority DG Kuto a letter laying out the
process required for achieving Category 1, specifying the steps
Kenya needs to take, and urging the GOK to take advantage of the
assistance we continue to offer under the Safe Skies program.

6. (SBU) Action request: Post requests DOT provide information on
the process for considering Delta's application and the likely
duration of the process. Post also requests DOT's and TSA's opinion
whether Delta's proposed 90 minutes in Dakar will be sufficient for
offloading and checking Nairobi passengers, luggage and freight, and
reloading.

7. (SBU) Comment: The Delta announcement and the GOK's request for
aviation talks are both welcome steps that offer the prospect of
boosting trade and tourism between Kenya and the U.S. However,
Kenya's aviation agencies have made little visible progress towards
Category 1. Open Skies talks after the December 2007 general
election may help focus the GOK's attention on addressing Category 1
issues. However, we hope the proposed Delta service does not reduce
Kenya's incentive to implement the necessary reforms by offering a
shortcut to direct U.S.-Kenya service.

RANNEBERGER

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