Regulator cracks whip on rogue cargo airline

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director General Captain Gilbert Kibe. (Jenipher Wachie, Standard)
The aviation regulator is flexing its muscle and has suspended the licence of one of the airlines plying the Nairobi-Mogadishu route over alleged illegal operation of cargo business.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) barred Jetways Airlines from the airspace for seven working days effective November 23, thickening the plot surrounding the Sh5 billion business of airlifting miraa to Somalia.

KCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe Friday declined to say whether the suspension had been lifted.

In a letter to Jetways, the authority said it had temporarily suspended the airline’s certificate as it probed a number of aviation infringements by the operator.

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Jetways is one of at least three passenger aircraft which in an article published a week ago by our sister publication Financial Standard are alleged to have flouted some aviation rules.

Mr Kibe declined to reveal the result of the investigation on Jetways and the other two airlines.

“We are working on something which I will not share with the public,” he told Saturday Standard, adding that the result of the investigation was “an internal matter.”

Registered by the KCAA, Jetways and two other airlines are said to have continued to transport excess cargo on the Somalia route months after the regulator directed that only cargo-configured aircraft be allowed to transport goods.

The Standard article found that the three had taken advantage of the lawlessness in Somalia’s airspace and flagrantly flouted the country’s aviation rules, putting lives in danger.

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Kibe denied the allegations. “That information (was) not factual,” he said in a text message yesterday.

But days after The Standard article ran, Jetways’ licence was suspended, with the regulator citing lack of critical training for its staff. It also said the operator did not have the right programmes to keep it airborne.

KCAA in a letter signed by Kibe said that its probe had revealed the operator lacked capacity to undertake safe operations as it did not have adequate staffing levels and training, cutting across various levels such as pilots, cabin crew and flight operational officers.

Jetways was also found to have employed “unqualified” or “undocumented” personnel.

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KCAAKenya Civil Aviation AuthorityJetways AirlinesKCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe