Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has thrown his weight behind the proposed National Aviation Management Bill, 2020 on the nationalisation of Kenya Airways (KQ).
The Bill, which is currently being subjected to the second round of public participation, proposes the exclusion of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) from a new holding company as part of the nationalisation of the national carrier.
The new company, Aviation Holding Company, will own the Kenya Aviation Corporation and oversee the country’s aviation assets.
The Bill also proposes the formation of a National Civil Aviation Council to be chaired by the president with the mandate to review the sector’s policies.
According to CS Macharia, the proposed law will help to improve KQ’s competitiveness globally. “The Bill will facilitate the strategic transformation of the aviation sector in the country by consolidating our assets, thereby generating greater synergies from the joint operations of these assets,” the CS told the National Assembly Transport Committee at Parliament Buildings yesterday.
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The Bill has elicited varied reactions, with lawyers demanding that plans to nationalise the carrier be put on hold and the Bill withdrawn altogether. With the backing of aviation experts, they say KQ being a private entity, MPs have no mandate to solve its problems.
Among their concerns are proposals to exempt the aviation holding company from certain provisions of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, the State Corporation Act and the Companies Act.
But Macharia said the move would see Kenya join other countries like Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates whose aviation industries are thriving, thanks to similar steps.