The tough and rigorous test 827 Kenya Airways staff must undergo before being allowed to set foot in US

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8-Dreamliner is scheduled to make the maiden trip in October.

More than 820 employees of Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways  have been summoned to appear before the US embassy in Nairobi for background checks ahead of the KQ’s maiden flight to New York in October.

US authorities said the vetting of airport workers and flight crews is in line with its routine aviation safety measures.

“In preparation for direct flights to New York we have reached an agreement with the American Embassy to facilitate the process for flight and cabin crew,” the memo said.

After a long winding route, Kenya was finally granted rights to fly directly to US on September 2017, paving way for the ‘Pride of Africa’ to create hundreds of jobs and boost its revenues by at least 10 per cent.

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8-Dreamliner is scheduled to make the maiden trip and each flight will be manned by a crew of four pilots and 12 flight attendants.

As part of its role in smoothing the way, Kenya Airways asked its employees to prepare for the vetting in a June 7, 2018 memo that named the US embassy in Nairobi as the facilitator.

Only flight crew who have no criminal records and are not on government watch lists are allowed to form part of a carrier’s team that can fly to the US.

Among those that were scheduled to be screened are 595 flight attendants and five cabin managers.

The airline said only the agency that undertook the vetting would be in a position to offer information regarding the process.

“That said, no employee has been sacked or suspended,” the airline added.

KQ plans to fly from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 10.30 p.m. every day to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), targeting tourists and business travellers.

The long-haul flights will last 15 hours and the 15 hours represent a seven-hour reduction from the current flight time of over 22 hours, including lengthy stopovers.

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