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Open skies policy for East Africa almost reality

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Four East African countries are working on an open skies agreement to create one airspace to enhance air connectivity within the region.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General, Gilbert Kibe, is quoted by the Daily Nation newspaper in Kenya as saying Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan are in the process of  working out a multilateral air service agreement.

He said once this agreement has been reached, the four countries would remove travel restrictions within this region to create a single airspace. “Before the end of this year, we will have the way forward on efforts being made by the four nations to open the skies so that our airlines can operate as domestic carriers.”

In February last year, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a document supporting open skies while visiting Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. According to this document Kenya will implement an open skies policy by 2017.

“For the country to meet next year’s deadline, we resolved to engage our three neigbouring states so that we could work toward realising one airspace.”

Next month (October) the Kenyan government will invite all relevant parties – including tourism and transport industries – to deliberate an open skies policy.

Once successful with implementing the policy, Kenya plans to capitalise on it by creating a second hub international airport at Moi in Mombasa in addition to the main Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.