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Why it could cost upwards of Sh10 million to replace damaged helicopter windscreen

There was little security presence at Kibor’s home when Raila Odinga landed on Friday evening to condole with the family. [Courtesy]

It could cost more than Sh10 million to replace the helicopter air shield destroyed by rowdy youth in Soy, Uasin Gishu on Friday.

According to Major (Rt) Thomas Samoei, a senior instructor at the Sicham Aviation Training School, such incidents could also see a rise in insurance premiums for aviation companies.

“Normally, insurance cover for a chopper is Sh10 million per year. But the companies hiring them out for political activities would consider increasing the cost of cover against any eventualities,” he said.

Samoei said that laxity among security officers during political campaigns could be one of the reasons why the youth managed to attack ODM leader Raila Odinga’s helicopter during the burial of businessman Jackson Kibor.

He added that such incidents will alarm helicopter owners and they could be forced to take stringent measures to protect the costly choppers.

Samoei, the former president Daniel Moi pilot, said most choppers used by the local politicians are hired from aviation companies.

He argued that it could take three months to replace the damaged windscreen due to import delays and unavailability of parts locally.

“In Kenya, we don’t have ready-made spare parts and the company will have to source from agents in South Africa.

"Then again, the same dealer will have to purchase from either US or Europe in a process that would take about a month,” he said.

He added that helicopter windscreen costs about Sh7 million and when the dealer procures and then sells to the company, price will rise steeply because of custom and import duties.

“Maintaining choppers is expensive, and the companies would not tolerate the current political environment," he said.

They can withdraw their choppers or shift to other countries where there is a good business environment."