The governments of the United States of America and Kenya on February 5, 2020 signed an important amendment to the U.S.-Kenya Air Transport Agreement at the Department of State in Washington, DC. The amendment adds seventh-freedom traffic rights for all-cargo operations to the bilateral Air Transport Agreement and will enter into force following an exchange of diplomatic notes. It has been applied on the basis of comity and reciprocity since it was negotiated on December 4, 2019.
The signing was attended by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Manisha Singh and the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, Dr James Macharia.
The seventh freedom rights captured in the amendment facilitate the movement of goods throughout the world by providing air carriers greater flexibility to meet their cargo and express delivery customers’ needs more efficiently. It means that Kenyan-registered carriers can now collect cargo from the U.S. and deliver to another country without having to first fly back to Kenya and vice versa for U.S. registered cargo carriers.
“Specifically, the amendment allows U.S. all-cargo airlines to fly between Kenya and a third nation without needing to stop in the United States, an important right if operating a cargo hub. Kenyan all-cargo carriers also have reciprocal rights to serve the United States,” part of the State Department’s statement read.
The amendment is expected to further expand the economic and commercial partnership between the two countries, while creating new opportunities for all-cargo airlines, exporters, and consumers. Moreover, it is intended to fully open the Kenyan air cargo services market to U.S. carriers.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the amendment is also a step forward in liberalising the international civil aviation sector in Africa – a region that it says has the potential to be one of the fastest growing in the world.
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