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MPs open investigations into air traffic accidents

By Wilfred Ayaga | October 30th 2019

MPs have opened a probe into two recent air traffic accidents involving planes belonging to Silverstone Air Services.

The National Assembly Transport committee has summoned Transport ministry officials, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) for grilling, in the wake of the latest incident where one of the company’s planes made an emergency landing at Eldoret International Airport after losing one its tyres during takeoff from Lodwar.

In an earlier incident on October 11, a plane carrying passengers to Lamu Island skidded off the runway at Wilson Airport, Nairobi.

The committee wants to find out among other issues, the status of inspection of the two planes, their date of manufacture and general airworthiness.

The House team also wants KCAA to provide it with a chronology of the age of all aircraft operating from Wilson Airport.

It also wants KAA to explain the status of the country’s outstrips, which it said are ‘full of potholes.’

Committee Chair, David Pkosing said that his team is concerned about the safety of air travellers especially during the festive season when many Kenyans travel for holidays. He warned the business interests should not blind relevant authorities to key air traffic concerns.

“The committee is seized of this matter and the people of Kenya should be assured that we will ensure their safety. We have summoned the ministry, KAA and KCCA to appear before this committee. In our investigations, we will not look at people’s business interests but on the wider interest of Kenyans… we will streamline air traffic as we head to the festivities” said the Pokot South MP.  

He was briefing the media at Parliament’s media centre after a meeting of his team to consider the two incidents.  

At their earlier meeting, the team agreed to summon officials of the three agencies on Friday this week.

Last week, KCCA said it had launched a probe into the matter that has caused anxiety among regular travelers.

The authority also asked Kenyans to be vigilant in reporting an emerging safety concerns.

 “KCCA is currently carrying out an audit inspection on the airline after various air incidents and accidents involving Silverstone Air Services. The audit is being done in order to determine the level of compliance with the current civil aviation regulations and their own company’s approved manuals and procedures,” stated the KCCA statement.

The House committee however dismissed this statement terming it ‘falling below the expectations of Kenyans.’

“KCCA cannot wake up and tell us that they are doing an audit. They cannot be doing an audit when the said aircraft are still flying. What have they been doing? It will not be business as usual,” said the chairman.  

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