TSA Forces Delta to Cancel Africa Service

By | June 2, 2009
{{de|Boeing 767-300 ER (N156DL) der Delta Airl...
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Delta was forced to cancel the launch of two new routes to Africa today. The airline was set to operate its inaugural flight between Atlanta and Nairobi, Kenya via Dakar, Senegal today, but cancelled after federal security officials denied approval. It was also denied for their flight to Monrovia, Liberia, set to start on the 8th.

The inaugural Delta flight was due to arrive in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon for a ceremony to be attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the U.S. envoy to Kenya, government ministers and Delta officials. The airline announced the flights in November of 2008, so it is a mystery why the Department of Homeland Security couldn’t decide this earlier.

It’s the first time the Transportation Security Administration has denied international service by a U.S. carrier. Delta would have been the first U.S. airline to serve Nairobi in about 20 years. Since last November, the State Department has had in place a travel warning for U.S. citizens visiting Kenya, and the TSA has decided the current threat is too significant to allow the flights. Representative Lynn Westmoreland(R-GA), said that the Dept. of Homeland Security should have done a better job communicating with Delta, instead of advising them the night before the start of the service. We can’t say we disagree on that point.

The New York to Monrovia flight(via Sal Island, Cape Verde) was denied on the basis that their airport does not meet international security standards…something one would think would have been determined months ago as well.

The Kenyan government is naturally disappointed over the news. All passengers will be rerouted using other airlines.

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