New lockdown threatens survival of local aviation - KCAA

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director-General Gilbert Kibe [David Njaaga, Standard]

Kenya’s aviation industry is struggling to survive following the reintroduction of Covid-19 containment measures that have seen restriction on the movement of people in and out of Nairobi and surrounding counties.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director-General Gilbert Kibe said sectors that had started recovering from last year’s lull were back in the lurch, with a wider knock-on effect.

“Nairobi is the single largest aviation hub and the suspension of flights domestically has had a huge impact on the sector,” Kibe said yesterday at the Standard Group offices. “So far we have only been running cargo and medical evacuations, and the restricting measures have hurt the industry that was just starting to see an uptick in domestic travel... the tourism sector missed the Easter window.”

He said airlines flying out of Nairobi, including Kenya Airways, moved part of their fleet to handle cargo following increased demand at the onset of the pandemic, as many countries sought to import medical supplies and equipment.

As an initiative to cushion the sector, KCAA said it had relaxed statutory conditions for aviation operators and personnel. “We have given an extension on the validity of licenses; for instance, for pilots we were able to give 45-day or 90-day extensions,” he said.

 

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